virgil abloh

What Is a ‘Hip-Hop Fashion Designer’?

Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

When Virgil Abloh died in November of 2021, he was 41 years old and already the artistic director of menswear for Louis Vuitton; the mastermind of his own label, Off-White; a frequent collaborator with Kanye West; a DJ; and a beloved member of the fashion world. But in the 2022 Grammy Awards’ “In Memoriam” segment, he was described simply as a “Hip-Hop Fashion Designer” — a seemingly incongruous label compared to what the Abloh amassed in his career.

In addition to his lengthy résumé in fashion, Abloh was also nominated for a Grammy for his work on the recording package of Watch the Throne, which made the categorization all the more confusing. As one fan account noted, “Virgil’s tribute should’ve just been something along the lines of ‘GRAMMY nominated visual artist and fashion designer.’” Needless to say, people at home did not react too kindly to the categorization.

Also, the label was disproven at the 2022 Grammys. BTS, a K-pop band, walked the red carpet wearing some of Abloh’s last Vuitton designs.

Something tells me the Recording Academy is going to be releasing an apology tomorrow.

What Is a ‘Hip-Hop Fashion Designer"?