MANILA, Philippines—With an illustrious career as a trail-blazing figure in fashion that ended with an unexpected death, the UNIVERS group, led by its President Jappy Gonzalez, the exclusive Philippine distributor of Off-White, pays homage to style instigator, Virgil Abloh, who passed away last November 28, at the age of 41, after a private, two-year battle with cancer.
In commemoration of his unparalleled contributions in the world of fashion, championing creativity, inclusion, and street culture, the newly opened Off-White Greenbelt 3 store has been adorned with hundreds of sunflowers against a sign with the statement “VIRGIL FOREVER”, joining the world in this posthumous celebration.
Image courtesy of UNIVERS.
Gonzalez shares, “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 of Off-White, the late designer collaborated with individuals like A$AP Rocky and Takashi Murakami, as well as companies varying from big to small, luxury to mass market, both within and outside of fashion such as Nike and Ikea.
Virgil Abloh. Image courtesy of UNIVERS.
It was in 2018 when Abloh was appointed as Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director, that then paved the way for one of the highest profile cross-overs between streetwear and luxury. Abloh’s new role introduced more Black talent in the luxury fashion industry, which had then remained primarily White.
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.
Jappy Gonzalez. Image courtesy of UNIVERS.
Inspiring change, the iconic world-renowned creative 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.