Spring of The Rookie: Virgil Abloh – Urban Industrial Maverick

Bless up from Your Feet to Your Head top

We Go Again

This is Virgil. Chicago born designer who rose to the top of luxury in a toxic streetwear climate. With zero “school pedigree” as his detractors would like to point out Virgil became the designer for the unspoken for man designing for the people he loves taking all his references from Streetwear, road uniform, Chicago, skate culture, hip hop, New York, street fashion and meme culture.

The third and final rookie is Virgil because he is the first in modern history to achieve what he achieved in the way he did it as part of a few men of colour who rose to the top of luxury and one of the first to be at the top of another’s house with no degree in fashion a Kanye philosophy which allowed maybe not the man himself but one of his closest disciples & collaborators to be the most visible designer of that aesthetic. So much so he came out of Kanye’s shadow which is a big shadow and possibly his biggest accomplishment.

Virgil using his patented design philosophy to create furniture fashion, footwear and fine art. Starting from a humble engineering student to architecture part 2 student, Kanye Designer, Fendi intern, to owning his own labels Been Trill Pyrex and Off White all culminating in him being the most exposed designer on the planet with Nike using his design language to create pieces without him; a bastardised form of streetwear sprouting it’s wings forming houses we could or could not have done with.

Being in part why I think so many people criticise Virgil so harshly mainly because his work isn’t possibly understood fully and streetwear seen as a black art form on top of that the fruits of his tree, every designer has fruit from their tree and design philosophy especially if it’s expansive enough it can bring about some really inspired work. However what people take from Virgil’s work is irony and crude mimicry, what can anyone do about that but criticise his lack of clarity and say the direction he is going in isn’t worth exploration. All being wrong points of view, to dash someone with a wealth of experience, the bun in the oven isn’t done – and what we have to do is wait for the bird to find its wings.

There are points in which Virgil deserves criticism and vitriol, his lack of cultural awareness for 1) and for 2) his inability to take control and responsibility for what he has been given. Virgil at the height of off white decided to sell a controlling interest in his company to New Guards group. At the height of Off White, he decided to sell a majority stake, to people who aren’t for whatever culture he says he represents. This support and cash flow can be said to dilute the brand as what they have for sale are dried up designs.

Again his lack of cultural awareness had him steal from young designers, young black designers at that. Fair few designers e has taken from have been black designers, no remorse, no job given no credit. This is the way of many big fashion houses, so it is no big surprise that they steal peoples work. What I am surprised at is, the staff at both companies where he is Creative director (CD) are built up of majority white employ.

He can’t control who works at Louis Vuitton (LV) but the part of his corporation he has control over he has no efficacy to make them of his culture he so says is his own. So in effect, he steals from his own culture to give to LVMH and New Guards group. This is something people don’t talk about enough but it is a point of contention for me as it comes to criticism of Virgil and I think about it often. This is the conversation that needs to be had in terms of what we consider proper criticism of Virgil

In Virgil’s recent collections, he is displaying a growth that’s different from his earlier collections and if the trajectory stays the same aside from what everyone has said with conviction and fever the design language will flourish and breed the real inspiration for new designers that criticisers seek. The design language sprout that I see is intrinsically ties to him and his references and respectfully is unlikely display of beauty from his dresses to his tailoring.

This new design language Urban Industrial Lux he has created the trainers and bags to me are the star the true utilities made beautiful and you see a true effort to accentuate harmony of engineering and aestheticism while having control of the chic appeal of the accessories and even the clothes creating luxurious pieces only able to be revealed from his mind.

Further still his eye for patterns and creation of texture in his industrial design, of bags, suitcases and clothes. What Virgil excels at is delivering high level textures and bag/case design in a multitude of forms, I will always point to the 2054 collection  which spoke so much to his ability to create at a high level given the reigns and allowed to explore his strength when it comes to patterns, industrial design, set design and the sort.

His trainers have been so influential even though none of them are original they speak to his main audience and are important to his sensibilities as a designer creating a streak of winners that continue to be hype, in my eyes hype is a picture of accessibility to the people. Every artist strives towards being thought of as the best while being themselves but rarely any will make it so many stay with the understanding they can capture an audience.

As Virgil becomes a mainstay in fashion creating more season hopefully better and more wholistic towards his true inspiration I see him passing the torch too many more designers, whether he likes it or not- or i like it or not- he inspires many black youths to do what he has done.  What the fashion industry is talking about they could care less on so the great things he is doing can only be highlighted. My reality on Virgil is whatever he does next is of his own volition

This is my Rookie Virgil

Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

If you want to donate to help out this growing platform all patronage is welcome https://www.paypal.me/DYusuff

Follow my socials Instagram: @NYTypical Twitter: @ARAHofNYT

To learn more about Owning Your Own Ship – OYOS  

Please check out Some of my Thoughts On:

For some longer form write ups Read some of My Dialogues

Click here for my Essays 

 On My series work

Spring Of The Rookie

Sickle Cell Companion

Published by

@NYTypical

I document all the information I've gathered in my working and real life using reason and the written word to share with everyone how I ask an artist see the world. I research Plastics and Concrete and I'm educated in tech, design and art history. While having active practitioner experience in Advertising. I use that myriad of technical skills and display how they apply in the world and products we use starting with fashion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s