MILAN (Reuters) - Virgil Abloh, the designer for Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections and founder of streetwear label Off-White, has apologised after being criticised for chastising looting by U.S. protesters.
Abloh, the highest-profile black designer in fashion, said in an Instagram post late on Monday that he supported “every movement to eradicate racism and police violence.
“I am a black man. A dark black man. Like dark-dark. On an average trip to the grocery store in Chicago I fear I will die. Any interaction with the police could be fatal to me,” he wrote.
Abloh, 39, had been attacked on social media for criticising the looting of shops in Chicago and Los Angeles to which he had a connection amid protests against the killing of George Floyd.
In a post after a store owned by a fellow streetwear designer was damaged Abloh wrote:
“This disgusts me. To the kids that ransacked his store and RSVP DTLA, and all our stores in our scene just know, that product staring at you in your home/apartment right now is tainted and a reminder of a person I hope you aren’t.”
Abloh was also criticised for donating $50 to an organisation helping with protesters’ legal expenses when his creations can cost several hundred dollars or more.
“Yesterday I spoke about how my stores and stores of friends were looted. I apologize that it seemed like my concern for those stores outweighed my concern for our right to protest injustice and express our anger and rage in this moment,” he said on Monday.
He said his contributions to causes related to the protest movement totalled $20,500.
Abloh has been artistic director for menswear at Louis Vuitton, the biggest revenue driver at French luxury giant LVMH, since March 2018.
Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Giles Elgood
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