Leading fashion designer Virgil Abloh is being mourned by those who knew him, and those who didn't, but were inspired by who he was, and what he represented. 

Abloh, the menswear designer of Louis Vuitton,  – cardiac angiosarcoma. He was 41.

Australian creator and art director of Le Prime Apparel, Sammy Benbow, told the ABC that Abloh broke down barriers and shattered expectations of how things should be done, paving the way for designers like him.

He was shocked by news of Abloh's death, reflecting on his legacy.

"He was a man with a passion and a drive … and I know he's done a lot. And I know he didn't stop," Benbow said.

"He was a person who inspired me to keep going, even if things are bad, or they're not going your way."

Benbow began taking a keen interest in Abloh's work about six years ago, and said Abloh challenged the norm and took himself into a lot of spaces people wouldn't expect him to be in.

Abloh's achievements were many. He was Louis Vuitton's first Black artistic director, and was nominated for a Grammy as Art Director for Kanye West and Jay-Z's 2011 album Watch the Throne.

He also founded the brand Off-White, described as defining the grey area between black and white, and putting a spin on high fashion.

Benbow said he also made his mark in the digital space.

"Virgil was one of the first successful people to build a brand mostly on social media," Benbow said.

"It pushed me as a person of colour to be more open and build connections, and also learn about the world and other cultures as a creative."

Benbow started his brand in the Blue Mountains before moving to Marrickville in Sydney's inner west. Born in Lesotho, his designs are inspired by his South African heritage and Australian upbringing.

He strives to combine bold colours and African prints with Western designs.

"I'm a person who lives in both worlds," he said.

"So, I want people who are not from South Africa or Lesotho, where I was born, interested in and comfortable with colours and designs from that place where I'm from, and vice versa."

He said Abloh paved the way for others.

"He meant a lot to people.

"To people of colour, he appeared as a symbol of no fear, strength and, drive … he opened the gateway for people who may have feared that they can't do certain things, or they can't be in certain places. He was just a symbol of bravery."

Alison Veness is the Editor of 10 Magazine Australia and Visual Director of Vogue Australia.

She knew Abloh personally, and was shocked and saddened by his death.

"I knew that he hadn't been very well in the past couple of years, but I didn't realise the extent of his illness and how serious it was," she said.

Speaking to the ABC, Ms Veness said the entire fashion industry worldwide was mourning his loss, as well as those locally who have met him or know his work.

She said Abloh helped people throughout the industry, particularly Black businesses in the US, and worldwide.

"He was a generous man, and above everything, he used his new-found wealth, I suppose, and his position and his power to good effect.

"He was always helping people … but he quietly did it. He didn't broadcast his philanthropy. He just did things quietly."

Ms Veness said Abloh was successful because of his passion, and because he listened to people.

"He listened to kids, what they want," she said.

"He was very tuned in to his own world that he's come from and what people might want. And he brought something new, with his creativity. And that's why he's been successful."