Upstate NY artist working to keep Virgil Ablho’s legacy alive

It was nearly a week ago that the world lost fashion pioneer Virgil Abloh. He died at just 41 years old after battling a rare form of cancer for two years. The impact of his loss was massive for minorities in the fashion world.

One upstate designer is using her art to keep Abloh’s legacy alive.

“With Virgil being such a driving force in the fashion world, when I heard the news I instantly knew I had to paint,” Rae’ Frasier, artist and street wear designer, said. “It’s my duty as part of someone in the culture and creative world to make sure that his legacy continues to live.”

Like Frasier, many in the art and fashion world were saddened to learn the designer passed away last Sunday. This, after his private battle to a rare type of cancer know as cardiac angiosarcoma.

In 2018, he made history by becoming the first Black artistic director for Louis Vuitton and pioneering the luxury streetwear concept.

“He kicked the door open for Black creative people partnering with big white organizations,” Frasier said.

Long before his partnership with Louis Vuitton, Virgil’s own clothing label, ‘Off White,’ grew from just a few t-shirts to an entire brand with a celebrity cult-like following.

“These are different clothing collections that I’ve had over the past year,” Frasier said.

Frasier also uses fashion as a canvas in her clothing line ‘Art Money.’ From the Dorothy Dandridge jacket to the Kobe hat, she mints historical figures and urban concepts into wearable art.

“I think that’s a beautiful part of our culture we love merging things. And Virgil did that so well,” Frasier said.

Only one in a million Americans will be diagnosed with cardiac angiosarcoma this year. It develops in the inner lining of the blood vessels and lymph vessels. As with this cancer, and others like colon cancer, which killed actor Chadwick Boseman, doctors say it’s important for people at any age to listen to their bodies and see their doctor if they have a concern.  

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