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

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NYT STYLE: What Makes a Hypebeast a Hypebeast

Bless up from your feet to your head top

We go again

Who are you when you put on clothes? It’s a weird question, partly facetious and partly vain. The thing is, to the people who really live it, you wouldn’t understand what goes through their minds when they get a fit off perfectly for the day. It can change your whole mood, your whole aura.

The experience is qualitative not quantitative, I could tell you how it feels but the feeling varies from person to person. There are times at which the aura can be felt from outside in, for those of us that completely feel fulfilled inside out.

Fashion for most is an individual and self centred pursuit that allows for such a range of self expression today that in a room full of fashion people that feel this way it can light up a room.

I see no problem in what some would call facetious, vain, narcissistic, or self centred. Self fulfilment is part of human identity, if you are full, if you feel 100%, your cup runs over and you can pour into someone else.

This may be seen as too philosophical an approach, nonetheless I’ve seen it happen umpteen times.

The problem I find is when people think the clothes make the person the hypebeast.

Fashion has so many statements today that it’s electrifying, like I said these people can light up a room, at the same time that level of energy can be destructive when applied negatively. People who don’t have all their ducks in a row can burst at the seams for attention, they will activate a toxic environment for those around them and left unchecked they will come off as malevolent to those around them. Not be, malevolent but have the energy of someone who doesn’t care for what they do to others.

Many people derive hypebeasts from sneaker culture, mainly because of the growth in the marketing of exclusivity from the market as well as Supreme getting to a Billion and being deemed a Luxury brand. Growth of Jordan Collaborations and other classic Nike Shapes all for competition with Yeezy.

when the internet is engrossed with something the value goes to us, whether the engrossment is good or bad, it’s all worth it to the supplier.

The internet Kids became enthralled by the Marketing of FOMO and gaining of exclusive products it changed the Crep market altogether, secondhand and reselling rose to the occasion, Stock X, Grailed and Sneaker all benefitted from this innovation. As written in the previous Paragraph that was a whole host of correlating points that led to the growth of the trainer market in the world, quite rightly so, it takes more than one brand initiative, app, or piece of clothing to make a hype beast. – Funnily enough Hype beasts usually have many pieces, even multiples of ones. Moreover I cant altogether say if you dress a certain way you are a Hype Beast.

The most important part of this message is knowing that I cannot talk about someone who wears Jordans, or Supreme and call them a hypebeast, as much as i can call someone who wears Margiela Tabis and call them ‘Fashion Forward’. Just as someone that’s in the sphere, I meet many people who wear so-called High fashion pieces and fancy themselves as Fashion Forward, I can’t say in the slightest I agree with them. A pair of Tabi’s does not make you fashion forward just as Supreme doesn’t make you a hype beast.

I can go so far as to say there are people that wear Comme Des Garçon, Margiela, Rick Owens that I would consider hypebeasts. Just as much as the direction of a hypebeast isn’t consistent with Supreme, Jordan and Yeezy

In fact all of them are included in this analysis, back to my original metaphor Hypebeasts take away good energy, the exuberance of loving how you look and sharing that energy with others, to wanting to be seen by everyone and trying to grab attention in as many ways as possible.

This type of imbalance brings so much vitriol to fashion. The people of this cloth will be the first most people will meet in the fashion sphere, – not saying its perfect, nor saying it’s not filled with trifling people – but it is a terrible first contact. The clothes will be wearing them, the statement pieces will be out of place if that wasn’t enough the energy will be all take, take take, look at me I want attention, ‘See how much better I am than you’. So many issues to be addressed there but because the clothes have the perception of being called fashion, people perceive these people to be in fashion, some are, most is a facade

The Hypebeast is an invention of the game to classify a subset of people in order to square them away. Just as streetwear turned up and eboys thereafter Hediboys, Jerrybois Rick Chad etcetera. Hypebeasts are a big part of fashion and enhance it and even uplift it in their own ways, just as everyone else does.

They curate a vibe and are mostly an entry point for most people getting into fashion today, many people are scared this is the future when the reality is the classification comes from the people who like to name things, now its connotation is so negative it needs an update. I can’t say the type of appreciation a Hype beast would have is explicitly negative, it’s only because it contrasts so much with the appreciation I’m so accustomed to today.

People want to learn, people love fashion and people appreciate how they want. It’s only when it impresses negatively on others I get a strange quell to regulate but the reality as I see it, they become less burdensome the more they learn and the ones I come across- in my unique position- love to learn. Coming from the Antifashion side or the Streetwear side I endear myself to those with open minds

Whatever Moves Your Dial

Damilare. Not Your Typical

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Spring of The Rookie Kiko Kostadinov – The way of the Dark Stallion

Bless up from your feet to your head top

We go again

I first encountered Kiko after his SS18 collection but in 2019 I wasn’t sure if I was late or early to the party but I was sure he was doing the right thing. This relative unknown then became the dark horse in the race to evolve menswear.

Kiko and his ASICS collab have had him in the sights of many men in fashion wanting more from him and wanting well of him, he seems to provoke in men what Chanel was said to have provoked in women back in her day. We see Kiko garner the attention of men all over wanting the uniform of ‘a man’, this really interests me as I have been working on my menswear thesis for quite some time Kiko seems to design in alignment to some of my brief. And as a relatively new and fairly obscure designer it seems he has a formula to bring more men into fashion.

This is why he is part of the Spring of the Rookie, I pick my rookies due to years in the game, Kiko Debut in 2017 and if you aren’t looking for him you may not find him but much like Sam Ross I feel his vigour and his energy is oxygen to the flame of the new Menswear ethos. Reason being you see Kiko here, I enjoy being on the right side of history and this man is my second gamble he may become a pillar of the community or a slab that lay the foundation this is my lot to say the former. I see him as someone that can grow into potentially one of the top designers of our generation given time and guidance

Kiko began his journey in Belgium of all places moving to the U.K. as a teen and going to Central Saint Martins. Already his story is quite interesting as an immigrant coming to London to study fashion is nary a thing you hear of, the creative arts is something that’s feared by immigrant families because its nature is due to a gamble not everyone is here to make it. My guess is Kiko bet on himself enough to get the funds to educate himself in fashion, as hard as it may be he done it as a man. I rarely hear stories of people coming to the U.K. to make it in Creative industries let alone business these stories are usually reserved for America. I believe this start is what draws certain men to Kiko that understanding of someone who decided to go for his dream and achieve it in a land he didn’t know. Whether he will stay here due to the U.K. laws on art and entrepreneurship, that’s a conversation for a different day. Kiko is here and men love him right now.

As a designer Kiko Kostadinov focuses highly on tailoring using his eye for utility his garments are very structured and he seems to challenge himself pushing the way he references and the kind of garments he constructs. The type of shapes and patterns he uses as details remind me of 70’s Abstract Modernism work, found in his beloved Belgium maybe Thomas Kapsalis morso Karel Maes if I do say so myself the shapes and colours certainly do seem inspired in that direction and that to me has me tip my hat of to him as someone drawing from his home and creating work that is representative of all things that are him.

Functionally his clothes seem to focus heavily on masculine aesthetic shows me so much about himself, his ethos certainly shows itself through his clothes and it is fair to say he enjoys his work. He seems to consider so much from his references in art to the designers and film. He doesn’t romanticise men but sees them how they are and enjoys being one, if that is an honest turn of phrase. So when we say he’s utilitarian it’s to mean he makes what is of use and when we say abstract modernist it’s to say he creates a design language recognisable to him without compromising the garment the wearer or himself.

I have to note he covers himself in controversy being so soon out as he is prone to profane outbursts calling out designers like Virgil Abloh for instance, turning his nose up at designers who may not be like him, you would think as an artist he would be more considerate of others feelings, yet he’s not. He leaves room for him to be memed as a tyrant that feels more prestige because of his pedigree having been to CSM and worked for certain labels. As an artist that talks about other artists as well I refrain from sending harsh or profane language someone’s way and if I critique its to be constructive because I want there to be a better intention for great work. I do see he is a whole person as an artist you buy into him and if you are cool with him you can be cool with his clothes. Maybe he comes from a space of love for the craft but I don’t see it as a valuable use of time talking about other designers this way as you are trying to come out of relative obscurity, not that I think it hurt or helps but that’s how I see it.

He shares a space with no one and may be here to define a new way or new lane for designers as a whole and create a language for men at mass, we are looking forward to something new as he has laid a foundation with these firsts collections, his work seems to have some sort of factory setting so it would be fun to see something different pushing his boundaries but there is something to be said for someone who is consistently showing greatness within the bounds they laid for themselves.

This is my Rookie Kiko

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