It's Your Duty to Send the Elevator Back Down

Virgil Abloh

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Virgil Abloh: “When you’re lucky enough to get a ride to the penthouse, it’s your duty to send the elevator back down.”
Virgil Abloh: “When you’re lucky enough to get a ride to the penthouse, it’s your duty to send the elevator back down.”
Image credit: Myles Kalus Anak Jihem via Wikimedia Commons

Virgil Abloh (1980-2021) was an American fashion designer and entrepreneur.

He entered the fashion world in 2009 with an internship at Fendi alongside Kanye West, with whom he collaborated before launching his own luxury fashion brand. He founded the high-end label Off-White in 2013 and in 2018 became the creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear. He was the first African-American artistic director at a French luxury fashion house and was considered the most powerful black man in fashion.

He passed away in late November this year due to a rare form of cancer and is remembered as a man dedicated to his craft and to his mission to give others opportunities and promote equality in art and design.

Learn More.

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Kayla Kim

Marketing Manager, Laidlaw Foundation

Hello! I was Laidlaw scholar in 2019, and I studied national, regional, and local identity in northern Tajikistan through the lens of women's fashion. 

For a year after graduating, I worked for the UN Mine Action Service which removes landmines from conflict and post-conflict regions. Now I have returned to the Laidlaw Foundation!

Please feel free to get in touch. I'm always happy to meet new people and chat, especially about nationalism/politics of gender/Central Asia/demining/UN/writing or even ballroom dance :)


Go to the profile of Susanna Kempe (she/her)
about 1 month ago

I am struck by the fact that for all his extraordinary talent he was incredibly humble and deeply curious. In every way he demonstrated the values that we espouse at Laidlaw. His death is such a tragic loss. We can honour him by being equally diligent in providing opportunities for others and always "sending the elevator back down".