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This is the story of how Virgil Abloh became the poster boy for change: new clothes, new art, new design, new music, a new attitude.

Black and white, men and women, anti-fashion and high fashion: he knew that nothing was binary and everything was open for exploration.

Off-White, Abloh's first fashion label, turned streetwear into high fashion offering a take on race that could only come from a Black man tearing down the walls of the whitest of worlds - haute couture.

He went on to become Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton menswear, one of the first Black men to head up a couture house.

Abloh began his career as Kanye West's right-hand man - his Creative Director. By West's side he watched him struggle to break into high fashion. As a young Black man without conventional fashion training or credentials Abloh saw in West's experience the realities of racism and snobbery that he himself would have to steer his way through to make a name for himself in fashion. A

bloh's mission was to change everything - to show what Black people could do, what difference Black people could make and what would happen when Black people were finally listened to.

As well as having his own label and heading up Louis Vuitton menswear he was simultaneously a DJ, a shoe designer collaborating with Nike on the infamous 10, furniture designer for IKEA and car designer for Mercedes-Benz.

He died in November 2021 at the age of 41 after privately enduring two years of treatment for an aggressive and rare cancer.

Contributors include: DJ Benji B, Model and DJ Honey Dijon, Rapper Headie One, Singer songwriter Louis III, Model and Poet Kai-Isaiah Jamal, Menswear Designer Katie Eary.

Virgil Abloh: How To Be Both is a WhyNow production for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.


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