The late designer’s wife will continue his mission to uplift Black designers and create new pathways into the creative industries

Virgil Abloh’s impact on fashion, art, and design can’t be overstated, and his unexpected death at 41 last year left many wondering how his legacy will play out in years to come. Earlier this month (May 1), that question was partly answered via the appointment of Dazed’s editor-in-chief IB Kamara as the new art and image director of Off-White. Now, Abloh’s wife, Shannon, has completed another part of the picture.

Shannon Abloh collaborated closely with her late husband on much of his groundbreaking work in a behind-the-scenes capacity, and helped organise posthumous projects including Off-White’s spectacular send-off and the upcoming Brooklyn Museum exhibition Figures of Speech. However, her new role will see her step into a more visible position as CEO and Managing Director of the designer’s “creative corporation”, Virgil Abloh Securities.

Made up of Virgil Abloh’s longtime creative collaborators, the organisation has been dedicated to “spreading his ethos and essence globally” since his death in November 2021. According to a statement released May 17, it will span a characteristically broad range of creative disciplines: “Art, architecture, engineering, creative direction, artistic direction, industrial design, fashion design, music, film, writing and philanthropy.”

Reflecting Abloh’s desire to build in-roads for the generations of creatives that followed him (see: his lifelong mantra, “You can do it too”), Virgil Abloh Securities will also launch a philanthropic arm to “create pathways for greater equity and inclusion for diverse talents across creative industries”.

Virgil and Shannon Abloh first met in high school, and married after a decade together in 2009. The latter has no formal fashion training, but has come to represent her husband’s long-term vision in his absence. 

He believed his real work was using his position to ensure that many more Black designers, creatives and executives could have access to the opportunities he had in the fashion industry,” she said last month, accepting an award on his behalf at the 2022 Fashion Scholarship Fund gala. “He believed his real work was championing others, helping them find opportunities and rooting for their success.”