Almost six months after the death of its founder Virgil Abloh, Off-White has named Ib Kamara as its new image and art director.
In his new role, Kamara will now guide the vision and direction of the label, following Abloh’s premature death in November 2021.
Who is Ib Kamara?
Born in war-torn Sierra Leone in 1990, Ibrahim Kamara moved to Gambia to escape the violence, before relocating to London at age 11. After a brief stint studying medicine at his parents' request, he switched his path, studying fashion at Westminster Kingsway College, and then Central Saint Martins.
In 2016, Kamara worked on “2026”, a project that examined Black African masculinity, alongside the photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman. For the project, the pair street-cast male models in Soweto, South Africa, dressing them in clothes Kamara had found in dumpsters and upcycled into new outfits.
As part of the show Utopian Voices Here and Now, at Somerset House, it brought Kamara into contact with influential people, including Robbie Spencer, stylist and then-creative director of the magazine Dazed, who gave him his first fashion editorial.
With a distinct visual language, Kamara’s work challenges the norms of masculinity and menswear, often blurring lines with elements lifted from pan-African cultures. Along with Edward Enninful, the stylist who was appointed as editor-in-chief of British Vogue in 2017, Kamara is part of the vanguard of talented black men reshaping and reframing gender boundaries within fashion. In 2017, he worked with Stella McCartney on a series of collaborations called #StellaBy, which were shot in Nigeria by Nadine Ijewere.
In June 2018, he was appointed fashion editor at large for i-D magazine, and a little more than a year later, he was made senior fashion editor at large, while in 2019 he worked with Rihanna to launch her fashion brand, Fenty.
Kamara has also worked for the likes of Dior, Burberry and even Beyonce, and was a favourite of Virgil Abloh, who used the stylist across both of the labels he controlled.
In January 2021, Kamara was named editor-in-chief for Dazed magazine, and later that year, worked with H&M as creative advisor and stylist for its Circular Design collection. In November 2021, he received the Isabella Blow Award from the British Fashion Council for is contribution to the industry.
Kamara has taken to social media to express his gratitude for his new role at the label Abloh founded in 2012.
“Virgil will forever be with us. With me. He changed the world and left an indelible mark on anyone who encountered him and beyond," Kamara wrote.
"Generous with his time, mind and creativity — he saw everyone and created with all humans in mind. I am honoured to further link my ties to Off-White as their Art & Image Director and be a part of the team that will tell the rest of the story Virgil started writing for us all.”
First launched as Pyrex Vision in Milan in 2012, Abloh's label was subversive and notable for being his first venture without his long time mentor, Kanye West. The name change came about to better reflect what Abloh described as "the grey area between black and white as the colour off-white".
Since his death at 41, rumours have been circulating about who would take over Abloh’s role as menswear designer at the French house of Louis Vuitton and the creative direction of Off-White.
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