But fans of Virgil Abloh noticed something was up with how the organization labeled the late fashion designer: “hip-hop fashion designer.” Fans were not happy. Yes, many rappers wore Abloh’s clothing, but many fans took offense to the Recording Academy pigeonholing him.
Abloh died last November after a long private battle with a rare cancer at the age of 41.
He was the founder of Off-White, a luxury fashion label, and collaborated with the likes of Nike, Ikea, Kith, Takashi Murakami, Heron Preston, Levi’s, Moncler and Jimmy Choo just to name a few.
That list of accomplishments was reason enough for people to be upset. But Abloh also served as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, not “hip-hop wear”. While in that position, he collaborated with brands like the NBA, Jacob & Co and Braun, while also creating some original clothing for the brand.
On top of that, he also designed album covers for a slew of artists over the past 12 years such as A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, Kid Cudi, Pop Smoke and most notably Jay Z and Kanye West for their 2011 album Watch the Throne. The Grammys also failed to recognize that Abloh was nominated for best recording package for his work on the collab album.
While Abloh was loved and cherished by the hip-hop community, that does not mean his reach stopped there. He created menswear, not “hip-hop wear.” Diminishing and minimizing his work to being a hip-hop fashion designer is what angered a lot of people on social media.
One user said on Twitter, “Calling Virgil Abloh a “Hip-Hop Fashion Designer” is insanely disrespectful and blindly ignorant… do better.”
Another user posted, “The way that everyone is collectively so angry about “Virgil Abloh, hip hop fashion designer” like HOW did that even get approved by multiple people????”