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Rockford to declare Dec. 1 as 'Virgil Abloh Day' – WREX-TV

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The Rockford-native and world fashion designer passed away over the weekend.
ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford is set to pay homage to Virgil Abloh, the fashion-icon from Rockford who passed away over the weekend after a two-year battle with cancer.
Abloh graduated from Boylan High School in 1998, and worked for Kanye West before being named the director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection.
He was also named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people.
READ MORE: ‘He always was making time and space for up-and-coming folks and underdogs,’ Stateline remembers Virgil Abloh and his influence in the fashion industry
His passing leaves many in the Stateline mourning the creative gem and remembering how he touched the world. 
Virgil grew up in Rockford motivated and ready to make his mark on the world, according to Boylan Catholic High School Social Sciences Department Chair Louise Basile. 
“When I taught him in World History, he and another classmate didn’t like the description of plantains in our textbook when we talked about African civilization,” explained Basile, Abloh’s former teacher. “We prepared and seasoned plantains and ate them in class, which gave us a better understanding of the culture of his grandparents.”
“When he fell into fashion, it was a bit of a very coincidental surprise. It was really lovely that he ended up parlaying his architectural creativity into another arena,” said 2013 Boylan graduate Beatrice Hagney. 
Hagney now works as an Assistant Merchandising Manager in New York for Gucci. The former Titan talked to the Abloh family often when growing up, as Abloh’s mother is still her family’s seamstress.
Hagney considers Virgil an entrepreneur mentor and a friend.
“When I was getting my Master’s degree, he spoke to me on the phone for a project that I was doing. He was at Off-White and about to go to Louis Vuitton; he had a million other things to do, he didn’t have to talk to me but he did,” said Hagney. “He always was making time and space for up-and-coming folks and underdogs in the industry.”
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara will make the proclamation Wednesday morning. 
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Digital Content Manager
Andy Carrigan is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team as a photographer in 2016 after graduating from Northern Illinois University.
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