Virgil Abloh responds to backlash after 'donating $50 to Black Lives Matter fund'

4 June 2020, 13:00 | Updated: 4 June 2020, 13:02

Virgil Abloh details his experience with racism during his lengthy Instagram statement
Virgil Abloh details his experience with racism during his lengthy Instagram statement. Picture: Getty/Instagram

Luxury fashion designer Virgil Abloh has spoken out after being criticised for donating $50 to a Black Lives Matter bail fund.

American fashion designer Virgil Abloh, has responded to claims he's a "sell out" after he posted a $50 donation fund in support of Black Lives Matter.

Black Lives Matter UK: How can I donate?

The artistic director Louis Vuitton as well as founder of luxury fashion brand Off-White received backlash immediately on Twitter after posting a screenshot of his donation.

Virgil Abloh shares a screenshot of his donation on Instagram
Virgil Abloh shares a screenshot of his donation on Instagram. Picture: Instagram

Many fans took to Twitter to voice their opinions on Abloh, with some fans using price comparisons from products he sells from his fashion brand Off-White.

Fans pointed out that the amount was even less than some Off-White products, including marker pens and socks.

As well as criticism over the bail fund donation, Virgil also got called out over his backlash comments about people looting during the protests.

Many fans felt as though Abloh was talking from a privileged position due to his status and financial positioning and could not relate to how the looters feel.

Abloh responds after Sean Wotherspoon shares video of his store being looted
Abloh responds after Sean Wotherspoon shares video of his store being looted. Picture: Instagram

Virgil also triggered some fans with his statement on "streetwear is dead". The designer took to instagram and wrote: “Streetwear is a community. It’s groups of friends that have a common bond."

"We hang out on street corners, fight with each other, fight for each other … ‘Streetwear’ is yelling [at] shop staff, starting fights at lineups, defaming us cause we didn’t get enough pairs of shoes cause everyone can’t get a pair.“Streetwear is a culture. ‘Streetwear’ is a commodity.”

Following all the backlash he had received over the weekend, Abloh took to his Instagram feed and posted several screenshot of a statement he made in his notes.

The Instagram post read: "Yesterday I spoke about how my stores and stores of my friends were looted," he said. "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."

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He added: "I apologize that my comments yesterday appeared as if my main concerns are anything other than full solidarity with the movement against police violence, racism, and inequality."

"People who criticize 'looting' often do so as a way to make it seem like our fight against injustice isn't legitimate," Virgil continued. "I did not realize the ways my comments accidentally contributed to that narrative."

"As many have said, buildings are brick and mortar and material things can be replaced, people can't," he went on. "Black lives matter. In this moment, those other things don't."

Virgil recognised he is fortunate enough to be able to replace his stores, however, others were not. He seeked out those store owners in order to help.

Louis Vuitton artistic director Abloh has apologised to fans in an Instagram statement
Louis Vuitton artistic director Abloh has apologised to fans in an Instagram statement. Picture: Getty

In terms of the amount he has donated, Virgil revealed: "I have donated $20,500 to bail funds and other causes related to the movement"

"I will continue to donate more and will continue to use my voice to urge my peers to do the same.". He went on to explain he did not want to share a large figure he didn't want to come off as performative or invalidate smaller pledges.

Read the entire statement from Abloh above.

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