In this op-ed, social media editor Callia Hargrove explores her feelings after watching Virgil Abloh’s first show as the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, and what this moment means for the future of diversity in fashion.
It’s easy for us all to sit here and say that representation matters, but the true impact wasn’t apparent to me until I saw it. On 21 June, I found myself scrolling through Instagram, taking in Virgil Abloh’s debut for Louis Vuitton and sobbing. As the first black designer to helm a major design house, the moment undoubtedly carried a lot of weight, but I wasn’t prepared for how emotional it would feel to watch the show.
An image of Kanye West and Virgil Abloh hugging on the red carpet particularly struck me. There they were, two black men from Chicago, embracing at a show for one of the industry’s most historically white fashion houses. Kanye helped Virgil get to where he is, and when Virgil ran to find Kanye in the crowd, I felt it in my heart. Their hug was full of not only emotion but gratitude. Each has helped the other, and watching them share in this “we made it” moment in such a public forum was incredibly powerful.