The fashion industry has recently seen a wave of philanthropists showing support for their communities, and Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton men’s wear artistic director Virgil Abloh is the latest to join in.
This week, Abloh launched the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” scholarship fund, for which he helped raise $1 million to support the next generation of black fashion industry leaders. The initiative, which will be managed in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF), will assist fashion students of Black, African-American or African descent, and provide them with financial and professional support—something Abloh takes personally.
“I’ve always been passionate about giving the next generation of students the same foundation for success that was given to me,” he said on the FSF website. “That’s why I’m excited to launch this fund in partnership with the FSF, which has an outstanding track record of helping college students achieve successful careers.”
For Abloh, the fund is more than just a one-time donation. He has secured participation from partners evian, Farfetch, Louis Vuitton, New Guards Group and others, and will help enhance the organization’s internship, mentorship and networking offerings.
Throughout his career, Abloh has been dedicated to elevating black designers and shaking up the status quo within the industry. Last week, he announced in an animated video that the Louis Vuitton men’s show would run outside of the standard fashion calendar schedule. The luxury brand will present its Spring/Summer 2021 men’s collection on Aug. 6 in Shanghai and later in Tokyo.
This stray from the traditional calendar aligns with experts’ predictions that the COVID-19 pandemic will be a key turning point in the industry. Consumers and businesses—including Louis Vuitton—are shifting their focus to sustainability. In an interview with WWD, Abloh noted that the S/S ’21 collection will reflect this, and will include recycled materials, as well as recycled Louis Vuitton styles from Fall/Winter 2020-21.
Abloh’s plan for Louis Vuitton echoes the sentiments of Y/Project designer Glenn Martens and his plans to relaunch the brand’s bestsellers in more sustainable fabrications for next spring.