Virgil Abloh Sells Off-White to LVMH, Deepening Ties With Luxury Conglomerate

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PARIS—LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE is taking a 60% stake in Off-White, the brand founded by American designer Virgil Abloh, deepening the French conglomerate’s ties to a leading proponent of hip hop and streetwear in luxury fashion.

Mr. Abloh, 40 years old, is already the creative director of menswear for Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s core brand and the world’s top-selling luxury fashion label. In addition to taking the stake in Off-White, LVMH said it and Mr. Abloh would collaborate on other products beyond luxury fashion.

The partnership comes as the luxury industry embraces prominent Black artists, designers and hip-hop stars, seeking the cultural clout that can draw younger shoppers to their brands. Mr. Abloh is perhaps the most prominent Black executive in luxury fashion.

He is one of the few Black creative directors of a major European fashion house, alongside Olivier Rousteing at Balmain. That comes in addition to his work as a DJ, industrial designer and visual artist, including exhibitions at London’s Tate Modern and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, LVMH will take a 60% in the Off-White trademark, with Mr. Abloh keeping the other 40%. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Gigi Hadid wearing a dress designed by Virgil Abloh for Off-White during Paris Fashion Week in 2020.



Photo:

ian langsdon/Shutterstock

The Milanese company New Guards Group, a subsidiary of digital fashion company

Farfetch Ltd.

, will continue to operate the business under a licensing agreement with Off-White. Either New Guards or Off-White can opt-out of the agreement starting in 2026.

Mr. Abloh and LVMH didn’t specify where their future collaborations would lie outside of fashion.

Mr. Abloh was one of the driving forces pushing streetwear onto the runway of high fashion. Born outside Chicago, he grew up a devotee of skateboard culture and graffiti art. A one-time architecture student, Mr. Abloh was hired by

Kanye West

in 2007 to help launch the rapper’s projects outside of hip-hop.

In 2013, Mr. Abloh launched Off-White in Milan, shaking up the luxury fashion world with sneakers and camouflage pants juxtaposed with evening gowns. Now, such streetwear items are among the industry’s top-selling items.

LVMH’s deal with Mr. Abloh comes after LVMH earlier this year took a 50% stake in Armand de Brignac, the Champagne house owned by

Jay-Z.

LVMH and

Bernard Arnault,

the conglomerate’s billionaire controlling shareholder, have joined with

Rihanna

on several businesses, betting that the pop star’s gigawatt celebrity and huge following on social media would drive sales. Fenty, the LVMH-backed cosmetics brand that bears the Barbados-born pop star’s last name, has enjoyed strong sales from the start.

L Catterton, the private-equity firm partly controlled by Mr. Arnault, has invested in Savage X Fenty, Rihanna’s lingerie line. LVMH’s plans to start a fashion line with Rihanna flopped amid the upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading the two sides to suspend their plans for the label indefinitely.

Write to Matthew Dalton at Matthew.Dalton@wsj.com

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