"Virgil Was Here"Published:
August 12, 2021
During a time when 808’s & Heartbreak were played every day on my iPod, I was mesmerized by the new look that Kanye brought to the game. The first time I saw rappers attend fashion shows was when G.O.O.D music invaded Paris. Ye and crew walked with luxury suitcases to match their high-end style that put the fashion world on notice. Living legends like Don C, Jerry Lorenzo, and Farnsworth Bentley were part of the All-Star entourage. As the self-proclaimed Louis Vuitton Don stands in the middle, he is backed by a man who would take Louis Vuitton to all new heights. Heights is an understatement with a humongous rainbow-colored statue spotlighted at Louis Vuitton Men's Spring 2022 lineup in Miami Art Basel Week. After the 20-minute fashion show concluded, the 3-story statue doesn’t compare to how high his paper plane of ideas has flown from the grey skies into countless red hearts. As his funeral concluded, I still feel a continuation vibe immediately after.
Put it in quotes:
Around 8 a.m., I got up to visit a nearby Ikea to grab a few office furniture items. While the aroma of Swedish Meatballs and gravy fills the air, I get a buzz in my sweatpants pocket. My homie freaked out on the phone in search of a welcome mat that had giant quotes on them. He’s been zoning all morning to find the Ikea store that had the sarcastic Off-White mat that simply said “KEEP OFF” which to me is utter genius. Ironic to tell people to keep off the mat that is typically meant to collect all dirt before entering a home. Such irony is felt around the world, which made the brand a cultural logo. I was living under a rock walking into an Ikea with swivel chairs in mind, and not a limited edition collaboration. That’s exactly what it was because a lot of my classmates in college were fond of the movement once I started to pay more attention. The bold approach to art is unmistakably sound on the canvas of culture. I say culture simply by the countless items Virgil's vision inspired me to design and create. Far as creation, there were no fashion rules that got in the way of what needed to be expressed artistically. One time VA said, “I’m not really into style. I’m more into confidence or having something to say.” which is a testament to how thoughtful he was with each release.
Jumped over with Jumpman:
Everybody knows how important MJ is to the hood, let alone to the city of Chicago. Born and raised in Illinois, Virgil’s love for the high-flying basketball player was quite prevalent. Like most fans of Jordans, I’ve often wondered how can some of my favorite sneakers look if they were made today? Virgil’s take on the retro 1 personally took me for a loop. Taking thick Black marker to express the obvious was a sarcastic take I found instantly clever. Putting “AIR” on the outsole where the Air unit is normally placed in a cool reminder. Even the “SHOELACES” printed on the…well…shoelaces is a small detail that sets it apart from a regular pair. Swoosh is purposefully put out of place which causes immediate shock value. Speaking of value, having a Red zip-tie increases the stock due to its exclusivity. Since that pair dropped, it seems like robots have been beating me on every sneakers app. Taking an original and making it into a new class for the next generation is a rare feat most have never been able to do. Living up to an original only opened more doors to unleash further conversations in the form of art through style. Unmatched energy revitalized the iconic brand to appeal to an authentic wave that is concerned with saying something than trying to be something.
The passing of Virgil Abloh was sudden. To be honest, the continuation I spoke of earlier is a feeling of celebration that won’t fade. Throughout his triumphant fight with cancer, he continued to give the world all that he possibly could while here on planet Earth. Now that I think about it, the Off White x Nike “The 50” release is a retrospective way to show the world his many colorways (which normally never see the light of day). While facing adversity on a personal level, he continued to push the envelope further and further. Pushing forward than being pushy is a technique that Virgil mastered at the highest level imaginable. Sculptures, mats, bags, vehicles, luggage, clothing, umbrellas, drawings, sneakers, or any other creation is a distinct representation of who he was and how he saw the world. For the glimpse he was able to showcase to the world, his point of view is forever dope.