If you doubted Virgil Abloh’s stance with the Black community — after he initially donated just $50 to a bail fund and expressed sadness for his friend’s shops being looted amid police brutality protests– he’s here to tell you he’s on the right side of history.
The designer has come under fire lately for the statements he’s made, and his apologies began with opening his wallet, and now he’s ready to speak out. In a new interview with Fast Company, he’s opened about the meaning behind publicizing his $50 donation.
“The goal was to say, ‘Get together with your friends and do what you can,’” Abloh says. “It was meant to say that no amount was too little to donate.”
The jokes began to fly on Twitter, but Abloh stands firm in his position that he’s with the Black community and that it shows in the opportunities he’s given people of color when hiring them.
“I’ve taken all the (negative) feedback into account,” he says. “But the one thing I would say is that if you’re privy to my work, it’s clear what side of the line I stand on. If you’re privy to the fact that I’m a Black business owner, and that I’ve hired Black people at an industry-leading scale, it’s glaringly obvious that I stand with Black people.”
One of the actionable items he belives he can enact is to help the up and coming Black artists, who, like he once was, are trying to make a name for themselves. But with Black creatives like him breaking barriers at high fashion places like LVMH, he wants things to be that much easier for whoever’s next.
“I didn’t grow up with many icons or idols to pattern my career on,” Abloh says. “But at my businesses, I’ve seen artists and designers of my skin color do things in two months that took me 25 years to accomplish.”
He’s since upped his donation to $20,500 –which has been directed to bail funds and other causes– and even auctioned off a pair of his Off-White x Air Jordan 4s which raised $186,199.05 for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Peep the rest of Virgil’s interview with Fast Company here.