How Virgil Abloh’s “Post-Modern” Scholarship Is Continuing His Legacy
Virgil Abloh left an expansive legacy — from fashion, design, music, architecture and more, he touched culture in almost every way. As part of this, one thing that stands out from his life was his drive to bring people with him. Whenever a door opened for Abloh, he opened it even wider for the next person. As he put it: “Opening new doors for the Black community has always been, and will always be, the focus of my career.”
This often happened on a personal level: Abloh would regularly reach out to Black creatives to work with hime, whether that meant in his offices or performing at a Louis Vuitton show. However, his “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund was a formalization of this practice. Launched in 2020, the scholarship is for fashion students of Black, African-American, or African descent who will not only receive funding, but also be connected to industry mentors. “I’ve always been passionate about giving the next generation of students the same foundation for success that was given to me,” Abloh said when announcing the fund.
To raise awareness and funds for the scholarship, we’re teaming up with Off-White™ to release a capsule collection. First being auctioned off at a New York event for the 2022 class of “Post-Modern” Scholars, the release will be made available on the Highsnobiety Shop on April 13, with all proceeds going towards supporting the fund.
Below, we caught up with some of the “Post-Modern” scholars (who also modeled for our collection’s lookbook) to find out how the experience has impacted their careers and education. Browse their responses below and donate to the fund here.
Being a “Post-Modern” Scholar really meant having help and support in finding my voice, while learning how to collaborate with others and help raise others up as well.
Participating in The FSF scholarship fund was heavily encouraged in my school and I found myself really inspired by this years case study. I wanted to target a niche I was familiar with, and use my own understanding from personal experiences to relay a message that I felt was important to address!
I think it really shows, for me, it’s a reflection of all the work I’ve done, and I feel like it’s an honor to be involved in a scholarship connected to someone I’ve always looked up to since I was a kid — Virgil. He’s always been an inspiration to me, his grind, his dynamic, and the way he built himself as an African-American. He really built up his brand and his aesthetic and changed the way that people see streetwear and fashion. He’s the representation of what the scholarship is all about. It’s validation for everything I’ve worked for.
For me, representation is very important. Working in fashion (l’ve done a lot of internships), you don’t see a lot of Black people in the industry. It hinders the outcome of certain things, because it’s not always understood or translated in the right way. For example, on the production side, if a lot of people who aren’t Black but are doing the work for you as a Black designer. People of color throughout the whole fashion ecosystem are important. Like for now, I’m producing my collection — but there are no people of color who are putting it into production.
It’s a fine line, it doesn’t always have to be a Black person. But it’s important to have that balance, because representation matters.
Simply put, you want to see more people who look like you.
I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Studies with a concentration in Merchandising and a double minor in Marketing and Arts Management.
Virgil Abloh and the Post Modern Scholarship Fund inspired and motivated me to stand outside the box of what I want to achieve in life and to never count myself out. It’s my desire to create a space for young black women who are beginning to enter the fashion and beauty world by offering them a space to feel accepted.
Beside Virgil of course, I would say that I look up to Telfar Clemens. The Telfar brand is inclusive, culturally rich and ever expanding, which is inspiring to me. Telfar has said “I’m creating something bigger than fashion”and that couldn’t be more correct.
It’s about really having a voice, and I think that the scholarship is giving me the opportunity to have that, and putting me in a light that I previously wouldn’t have been in. I feel like to be able to be seen and be heard and really talk about what matters the most to me is important, which is authenticity. I really appreciate the Scholarship for giving me that opportunity.
I am a senior at The Fashion Institute of Technology. I have an Associates degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications, and I’m receiving my Bachelors degree in Home Products Development. I chose this path because I have a background in wellness and always felt like I was only treating people’s symptoms, when so much of the source of their pain and mental exhaustion was directly tied to their relationship with their environments and the products they used on a daily basis.
I applied for the Fashion Scholarship Fund because I admire Virgil Abloh, and strongly relate to his desire to have an impact in many different media. I have a deep respect for his vision and ability to open doors for Black creatives in a way that was and is truly meaningful. I hope to have the opportunity to do the same in the future and understand that it starts here.
I would say I look up to Kimberly McGlonn of Grant Blvd. She is a local designer of the Philadelphia area who mixes sustainable fashion with activism in the community. I am always looking at different brands such as Pangaia, United by Blue, and other brands that are socially responsible and ethical. Right now, my eye is on Maximilian Davis who is the new creative director of Ferragamo.
What’s important to me, especially in fashion, is for people like me — people of color — to have a very strong voice, that their work is acknowledged and not overlooked, and that their work shows where they’re from, their culture, and all the things that matter to them.
Being a “Post-Modern” Scholar means that I get to have access to resources to explore fashion as a non-traditional Black man in fashion.
I’m looking forward to my senior thesis, which is gonna be in electronic textiles. I’ve been doing case studies that deal with that, so I’m really excited to explore that and do that project my senior year.
I applied to the FSF scholarship fund due to the recommendation of one of my professors. When she brought up the scholarship, she spoke so passionately about the amazing opportunities that could come from it. Regardless if you won the scholarship or not, applying shows the dedication and discipline you gained while still maintaining your personal life, attending work and so on.
The people who I look up to in the industry are Groovey Lew, Virgil Abloh, Law Roach, Jason Bolden, just to name a few. All of these creators I consider to be fashion revolutionaries because they’ve made such a huge impact on the fashion industry. Pushing the boundaries and making fashion bend to their gain.
Being a “Post-Modern” Scholar to me means bringing in purposefully driven design and purposeful driven system-building into the fashion industry, as a way to make it more holistically ethical.
One of the main focuses I have recently is the capsule collection that I’m doing with Special Olympics, and incorporating adaptive fashion into a more inclusive environment in all aspects of the creative industry. I’m looking to make that into a more normalized thing, and bringing more people of different backgrounds and different abilities into the forefront of everyone’s mind.
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