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RCA launches Virgil Abloh scholarship for underrepresented communities

The Royal College of Art has announced a scholarship in the name of late designer Virgil Abloh, which will give one Black British student on any of its School of Design programmes a full tuition fee scholarship.

The scholarship, which will also include maintenance support for a total of £35,000, will be given to “an extraordinarily talented, but financially restricted, Black British student” to help them fulfil their creative potential, the Royal College of Art (RCA) said.

It was launched to help underrepresented communities in the creative and design industries. As well as financial support, the chosen student will be given networking opportunities and support by fashion designer Samuel Ross and others in the creative industry.

Scholarship to begin next academic year

Fashion designer Abloh, who passed away last year at the age of 41 from cancer, was an honorary visiting professor at the RCA and had a “close relationship” with the institution.

“Virgil’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,” RCA chancellor Jony Ive said.

Virgil Abloh wearing a jumper with a print
Virgil Abloh was an honorary visiting professor at the RCA

The scholarship will begin in the next academic year and was established with the support of Abloh’s wife, Shannon Abloh, who is also the CEO of Virgil Abloh Securities.

“Over the years, the RCA and Virgil formed a beautiful relationship based on a shared appreciation of collaboration, creative vision, and of course, education,” she said.

“We know that the RCA Virgil Abloh Scholarship will break down financial barriers to fulfilling creative potential and empower talented young individuals to dream even bigger.”

School of Design course students to be eligible for scholarship

The annual scholarship will apply to all of RCA School of Design’s postgraduate study, including programmes such as Fashion, Textiles, Design Products, Service Design and Intelligent Mobility, the RCA said.

Abloh, who founded fashion brand Off-White and was the creative director of fashion house Louis Vuitton, was known for his collaborations and had previously worked with German car brand Mercedes-Benz on a limited-edition car.

Most recently, Mattel Creations released a collection of Master of the Universe figures, including He-Man, designed by Abloh before he passed away.

In 2019, The Pokémon Company launched a scholarship with RCA to “support the creation and exploration of innovative art and design”.

The photography is courtesy of the RCA.

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