A scholarship for underrepresented communities in the creative and design industries in honor of fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who died last year, has been launched by the royal college of art (RCA).
ARC Virgil Abloh The scholarship is to be offered annually to “an extraordinarily talented, but financially limited, black British student”.
Alboh, an acclaimed fashion designer who died in November 2021, was the founder of Off-White alongside his role as artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. He had a close relationship with RCA after joining as an Honorary Visiting Professor in 2020.
The scholarship was established with funding from an anonymous donor in the United States. It will cover the full tuition of any postgraduate program in the School of Design, including Fashion, Textiles and Design Products. Typical tuition fees for these programs range from £14,175 to £33,200. The scholarship also includes maintenance support of £35,000 as well as industry experience and networking opportunities.
Abloh was a strong advocate for equality in education and learning. In 2020, he announced that with the support of partners including retail platform Farfetch and Louis Vuitton, he had committed more than $1 million to support scholarships and career opportunities for black students in the States. States through the Virgil Abloh™️ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund.
“Systemic change starts at the local level, from the collective efforts of people taking action and uplifting their own communities. I am committed to ensuring that this social revolution is not just a moment but a movement – and I stand up to the task,” he wrote in an online message.
Born in Chicago, Illinois to Ghanaian immigrant parents, Abloh studied civil engineering followed by a master’s degree in architecture. It was in college that he started designing T-shirts.
In 2009, he interned at Fendi alongside Kanye West, the rapper known as Ye.
Abloh’s own label, Off-White, garnered a cult following and LVMH acquired a majority stake in it in 2021.
In a world of fashion ruled by tradition, Abloh took an unorthodox approach. Quotation marks have become his trademark. He created reusable water bottles with Evian, furniture with Ikea, DJs around the world and in 2018 made history as the first Black designer at Louis Vuitton.
In a post to announce his death in November 2021his family revealed that he had been privately battling a rare aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma, for more than two years.
Speaking about the scholarship, Shannon Abloh, wife of the late designer, said: “Over the years RCA and Virgil have formed a beautiful relationship based on a shared appreciation of collaboration, creative vision and, of course, , education. We know the RCA Virgil Abloh Fellowship will remove financial barriers to realizing creative potential and empower talent young people to dream even bigger.”