Virgil Abloh’s legacy is one of trailblazing creativity & empathetic mentorship

Reflecting on the impact of Abloh’s “Free Game”

Abloh believed in the power of artists and had faith in the power of future generations.

Virgil Abloh is undoubtedly one of the boldest and most brilliant visionaries in artistic history.

He’s most known for being the founder and chief executive officer of Off-White and the artistic designer of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection in 2018. 

Defying labels and categorization, Abloh saw himself as a “maker” of all things creative, with his pursuits ranging from museum exhibitions to noteworthy collaborations with Nike, the NBA, Moncler, and Jimmy Choo.

He revolutionized streetwear and luxury fashion, made bold political statements through his creations, and used his intricate architectural brain to craft designs and transform perceptions of Blackness in fashion. However, no single statement or phrase can capture the genius and force of Abloh, who continues to be a figure of mentorship for young artists.

Abloh passed away Nov. 28 after a private battle with cardiac angiosarcoma—and the world felt the weight of this shocking loss.

Months later, I’ve been reflecting on Abloh’s unique commitment to creating space for creative minds in artistic spaces. I played his “Free Game” for the first time a few weeks ago and realized the importance of Abloh’s power to break down boundaries for the next generation.

Abloh’s “Free Game” is a digital resource for young artists looking to develop their own brands and succeed in the fashion industry. The mass mentorship database is intended to give “information and access to black POC and to all those that are interested,” with educational videos and Abloh’s reflections on his career and experience.


This holistic, easy-to-access source of industry information is a gold mine for young creatives and is an incredible step in dismantling systemic barriers for racialized designers. In a world where artists are encouraged to gatekeep their ideas and creative processes, Abloh was unapologetically and intentionally transparent.

The “Free Game,” like his controversial designs, is groundbreaking. Abloh’s passion for social justice and inclusivity translate into his efforts to make information accessible and share his wisdom across industries without cost.

“As part of my long-standing initiative to see design, art, and culture more inclusive to young black designers and those coming from non-traditional backgrounds, I wanted to assist in providing the means for them to advance on the road to ownership of their ideas and brands,” Abloh said in a statement on the website.

“I am launching this organic platform for widespread access to information and mentorship. The exact notions and tools that I used to formulate my career open to all. For free.”

Abloh believed in the power of artists and had faith in the power of future generations. He also understood how Black visionaries, people of colour, and other dreamers from “non-traditional backgrounds” are systemically disadvantaged and must continue breaking down barriers at every turn in their careers.

Many people who reference Abloh’s work speak to his powerful ability to craft the future of fashion and see beyond contemporary constraints. This ability translates into the “Free Game,” which acts as a stepping stone for talented “makers” to forge their paths and transform the future of creativity. 

“Look around this room,” Abloh said to the New York Times when debuting his menswear collection for Louis Vuitton.

 “There are people around this room who look like me. You never saw that before in fashion. The people have changed and so fashion had to.”

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.