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UNIVERS group celebrates Virgil Abloh, the revolutionary creative force

‘His message was unrelenting, that anything is possible’—Jappy Gonzalez

Memorial for Virgil Abloh in the newly opened Off-White at Greenbelt 3

Virgil Abloh turned his fame into a platform for inclusivity and cross-cultural collaboration.

Jappy Gonzalez: ‘Abloh was inspiring, especially to the youth.’

The UNIVERS group, led by its president Jappy Gonzalez, the exclusive Philippine distributor of Off-White, pays homage to Virgil Abloh who passed away last November 28, at 41, after a two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma cancer.

The newly opened Off-White Greenbelt 3 store has hundreds of sunflowers against a sign that says “VIRGIL FOREVER”. They join the world in honoring the vast contributions of the revolutionary creative force who championed inclusion and street culture. Gonzalez says, “Abloh was very inspiring, especially to the youth. His message was unrelenting, that anything is possible. He was such a big force in making fashion culturally relatable.”

After famously working under influential rapper Kanye West for years, Abloh launched his first collection for Off-White in 2014. Abloh’s love of collaboration took the brand to greater heights and thus introduced a new norm in the fashion industry—one marked by collaboration and cross-cultural synthesis.

Within the last 10 years, the late designer collaborated with individuals like A$AP Rocky and Takashi Murakami, as well as companies, big and small, luxury and mass markets, both within and outside of fashion such as Nike and Ikea.

Memorial for Virgil Abloh

In 2018, Abloh was appointed as Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director, which paved the way for one of the highest profile cross-overs between street-wear and luxury. Abloh’s new role introduced more Black talent into the luxury fashion industry, which then had remained primarily White.

Credit: Video submitted to by Univers

While he stood as one of the very few Black creatives in the European luxury house, he decided to use this newfound platform to elevate other Black artists like Kid Cudi, Devonte Hynes, and Playboi Carti through different initiatives. Inspiring change, Abloh also designed the NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center to hold mentorship programs for the youth.

Gonzalez continues, “He paved the way for fashion to be more inclusive and relevant. He pioneered a cultural movement that brought people together. His legacy and contributions will never be forgotten.”

Off-White opened in the Philippines in 2018 and recently opened a boutique in Greenbelt 3.

Memorial for Virgil Abloh

Read more:

Virgil Abloh Off-White™ special edition marks UNIVERS’ 10th year

How Mark ‘Jappy’ Gonzalez continues to disrupt—and why

Art Project series our way of giving back to the community—Jappy Gonzalez

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