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Virgil Abloh at Paris Men‘s Fashion Week SS20
Virgil Abloh at Paris Men’s Fashion Week SS20Photography Yu Fujiwara

Virgil Abloh apologises for his looting comments amid BLM protests

The designer also addressed criticisms after donating $50 in a social media match the donation chain

Virgil Abloh has apologised for his comments amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, prompted by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police last week.

Under an Instagram video posted by designer Sean Wotherspoon yesterday (June 1) of his looted streetwear shops in Los Angeles, Round Two and Vintage by Round Two, Abloh commented: “This disgusts me… We’re part of a culture together. Is this what you want?? When you walk past (Wotherspoon) in the future please have the dignity to not look him in the eye, hang your head in shame.”

Later, Abloh took to his own Instagram to say: “Case & point # 81 why I said ‘streetwear’ is dead,” alongside a video of the Round Two vintage store in Los Angeles after it was broken into and looted. Another photo of smashed artwork at the Fat Tiger workshop in Chicago, was accompanied by a caption that read: “Our own communities, our own shops… this shop was built with blood sweat and tears.”

The designer’s comments, combined with a tweet of him donating only $50 to Miami organisation Fempower for protestors’ legal fees, received backlash on social media, with many criticising Abloh’s priorities about the protests.

Responding to the backlash, Abloh wrote on Twitter: “As a black person, I have felt anger, sadness, and pain every time one of us is held victim of prejudice or systemic racism. I am proud to stand in solidarity with every movement to eradicate racism and police violence. Racism has to stop. It is literally killing us.”

He added: “I feel sick that George Floyd and generations of black people have been unjustly killed by police. Every police officer involved in their deaths needs to be charged and convicted. UNEQUIVOCALLY. We, the people of the world, should protest however we see fit.”

Abloh continued to address his Instagram comments, saying: “I apologise that my comments yesterday appeared as if my main concerns are anything other than full solidarity with my movements against police violence, racism, and inequality. I want to update all systems that don’t address our current needs. It has been my personal MO in every realm I touch.”

“As many have said, buildings are brick and mortar and material things can be replaced, people can’t,” he explained. “Black lives matter. In this moment, those other things don’t.”

“People who criticise ‘looting’ often do so as a way to make it seem like our fight against injustice isn’t legitimate. I did not realise the ways my comments accidentally contributed to that narrative. If looting eases pain and furthers the overall mission, it is within good standing with me.”

Abloh went on to address his donation to Fempower, explaining it was a part of a social media chain of friends matching $50 donations. “I can understand your frustration if you think my contributions were limited to $50. Purely false when it comes to the total. I have donated $20,500 to bail funds and other causes related to this movement,” he said.

“I will continue to donate more and will continue to use my voice to urge my peers to do the same. I was on the fence about publicising total dollar amounts because I didn’t want to look like I’m glorifying only higher amounts or that I want to be applauded for it,” he explained.

“In this case, my hesitation led to false assumptions on my personal spending. I encourage everyone to band together to match funds of their own proportion, regardless of what you have. Every dollar counts,” he concluded.

Read the full post below.