LONDON — Virgil Abloh is going back to school — in London — becoming a visiting professor at The Royal College of Art, WWD has learned.
An announcement is expected Thursday.
The RCA, a graduate school that counts David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Ridley Scott, Zandra Rhodes and Christopher Bailey among its alumni, said the appointment will enable students from across the college to benefit from Abloh’s “wealth of experience as a leading figure in international fashion and design.”
He is set to present master classes and talks throughout the year as well as share “unique employment opportunities” with the students and alumni.
“It’s with great honor I join the RCA as a visiting professor to reinforce the importance of education and hands-on mentorship of future generations,” said Abloh, the founder of the Milan-based label Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton men’s wear.
Sir Jony Ive, RCA chancellor, described Abloh as “a true force for change — a powerful combination of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, whose experience and mentorship will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of creative innovators to realize the full value of their potential.”
Zowie Broach, RCA head of fashion, said that Abloh embodies “the RCA’s spirit of collaboration and ingenuity — he is a designer and polymathic entrepreneur who has combined the fields of art, architecture, craft and design. Ultimately, the way he uses his practice to create social change is inspiring.”
The RCA also noted that Abloh is “passionate about philanthropy, having recently created a fund to foster equity and inclusion within the fashion industry by providing scholarships to students of academic promise of Black, African American, or African descent.”
Abloh’s appointment follows a talk he gave last summer to the RCA community called “A lecture on potential solutions, ideas on race in areas of art, design and current culture based on experiences.” The RCA called it a “highlight for many of our students studying during an uncertain time.”
Abloh’s various talents and interests — across fashion, furniture, art, architecture and design — coincide with the many areas of study at the RCA, which describes itself as the leading university of art and design offering 30 academic programs.
It offers MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD degrees across the disciplines of architecture, arts and humanities, design and communications and has 2,000 students. It employs around 1,000 professionals from around the world, including professors, researchers, art and design practitioners, advisers and visiting lecturers.