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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Royal College of Art presents a scholarship under the name of Virgil Abloh – WWD

LONDON — The Royal College of Art on Monday unveiled the RCA Virgil Abloh Scholarship, named for the late designer who served as visiting professor at the London institution.

The scholarship will be offered to a talented, but financially constrained, Black British student in any program at the RCA School of Design.

It will cover full tuition and maintenance support, totaling £35,000. The selected student will also benefit from industry experience and networking opportunities and will be supported by designer Samuel Ross and other creative industries partners throughout their studies.

The RCA, a graduate school that counts David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Ridley Scott, Zandra Rhodes and Christopher Bailey among its alumni, said the initiative is intended to “recognize Abloh’s support of education, his ethos of all his career of using his practice to create social change, and his position as a renowned advocate for equal opportunity in the creative industries.”

The school said the scholarship will also “help break down barriers to education and support the next generation of visionary designers and innovators.”

The Virgil Abloh Scholarship was established with the support of Shannon Abloh, the late designer’s wife and CEO of Virgil Abloh Securities, and the Fashion Scholarship Fund team in the US.

Abloh, who died last year, founded the Milan, Italy-based brand Off-White and served as artistic director for menswear at Louis Vuitton. He became an honorary visiting professor at RCA in 2021.

RCA Chancellor Jony Ive said: “Abloh’s creativity and generosity will continue to have an impact on RCA through this remarkable scholarship. I continue to be inspired by Virgil and believe that his curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit will live on, inspiring generations of innovators to come.”

Zowie Broach, Head of Program for MA Fashion at RCA, added: “Virgil’s energy and intent was really something else. This incredible legacy will offer young black British designers an opportunity where I have no doubt they will feel its power and continue to inspire and create even more change.”

The Ross Black British Artists Scholarship Program will also receive funding from Shannon Abloh and the Fashion Scholarship Fund team.

He said: “Abloh’s drive has always been linked to improving others, improving society and communicating an optimistic future with grace, a radical spirit and intellectual prowess that operates diagonally, across all facets of society.

“This philosophy will no doubt expand and continue to change the behavior of the creative industry and physical spaces, while improving the key communities that Virgil dedicated so much of his time to,” said Ross.

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