Royal College of Art Unveils Scholarship in Virgil Abloh’s Name

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

The scholarship will be offered to a talented, yet financially restricted, Black British student in any program at the RCA’s School of Design.

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It will cover full tuition fees and maintenance support, totaling 35,000 pounds. The selected student will also benefit from industry experience and networking opportunities and will be supported by designer Samuel Ross and fellow 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 this initiative aims to “recognize Abloh’s support for education, his careerlong ethos of using his practice to create social change, and his position as a renowned champion for equality of opportunity across 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 has been established with the support of Shannon Abloh, the late designer’s wife and chief executive officer at Virgil Abloh Securities, and the team at the Fashion Scholarship Fund in the U.S.

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

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

Zowie Broach, head of program of MA Fashion at the RCA, added, “Virgil’s energy and intention was truly something else. This amazing legacy will offer young Black British designers an opportunity where I have no doubt they will feel his power, and continue forth to inspire and create even more change.”

Ross’ Black British Artist Grant Program will also receive funds from Shannon Abloh and the team at the Fashion Scholarship Fund.

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

“Without a doubt, this philosophy will be expanded upon and continue to shift the behavior of the creative industry and physical spaces, whilst bettering key communities Virgil dedicated much of his time to support,” Ross said.

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