The fashion label launched by the late, groundbreaking designer Virgil Abloh now has a new creative leader. Ibrahim Kamara, a stylist, fashion journalist and creative director who began a working relationship with Abloh via DM on Instagram, is now joining Abloh’s Off-White brand as art and image director, the company announced, appropriately, in an IG post.
Kamara will succeed in setting the brand’s overall creative direction, focusing not only on its apparel but also image and content, the announcement said.
A native of Sierra Leone who lives in London, Kamara was named editor of the fashion magazine Dazed in January 2021. In a New York Times profile, the 31-year-old’s rise in the fashion world was described as “meteoric” since graduating from the art university Central Saint Martins in London to styling runway shows for Abloh’s Off-White and other elite brands.
From the New York Times
At a moment when Black representation in fashion remains a work in progress, Mr. Kamara’s distinctive voice — he first drew attention in 2016 with “2026,” a striking London exhibition that explored the changing nature of Black African masculinity on street-cast models in Soweto, South Africa — is upending conventional notions of how fashion can relate to race, gender and sexuality.
Currently he styles runway shows and advertising campaigns for top heritage houses like Burberry and Louis Vuitton men’s wear, as well as Erdem, and past clients include Stella McCartney and Dior. His work has appeared in British Vogue, Vogue Italia, System, W and i-D, where he was a senior editor at large.
In the same profile, Abloh described Kamara as a generational talent.
Abloh died last November following a two-year battle with cancer. He was 41. He launched Off-White in 2012, although his groundbreaking work helped define a category now called luxury streetwear, with work for other major labels like Louis Vuitton, where he headed design for the menswear division since 2018.
In 2019, Abloh was criticized after a picture he posted to Instagram showed all white staffers in the label’s Milan office. Some took to social media to comment on how a Black designer credited with breaking barriers could have assembled an all white team at his own company. Abloh responded with a statement that read, “My design team is diverse as the world is big. The video shown was an Off-White ™ dinner at the headquarters in the city of Milan, Italy. This party was to celebrate the hard work of the local Italian team.”
A number of Abloh collections and collaborations have been released posthumously, and he was feted at several fashion shows in late 2021 and early this year.