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

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

OYOS: A Year Completed, I love Life, God has given me more — The Movement of My Dial

Peace Blessings and Salutations

We go again,

The past year has been full of pain, terror anguish and anxiety. My success has also been incompatible to any other year prior. This is what I learned from it, don’t let what is done to you cripple you, don’t dwell on the defeat of a comrade or the loss of a loved one too long. The spirit of greatness stays and always remember the good as it is and don’t have it tainted jade or glazed over by the the spirit of nostalgia. What’s good is good and what’s done is done.

My life has been littered with pain and in my early 20’s it crippled me. I had to cut out the tumour cauterise the wound and live to fight another day, last year I decided I was ready to fight again and in that I have come by some amazing things

My writing is beloved and exalted by those who read it the message is conveyed and they understand my theories and what I have to offer the world. It’s quite astounding

I have performed at the highest level I ever have doing anything on any level. The only thing that comes close is my world building but even that doesn’t come close to the 150 articles I’ve wrote this year

This year I became an upstanding member of my community offering my help to those that need it and helped the kids that needed the information I had to offer.

My peers see what I do with astonishment and pizzazz, they beckon me to be a co-producer on the productions due to the skill and execution I use on my productions.

Ive created a fair few writing brands under the banner of NYTYPICAL along with the critically regarded Sickle Cell Companion used in hospitals by nurses.

So to say, I am an upstanding member of my community doing everything I can in my power I could do, even on 60% strength on average. That is something I can be proud of. I can do that much service as a whole while serving my career.

This is what I want to continue in more ways furthering to heights no one knew were possible.

This is the Movement of my Dial

LINK FOR PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/2nslV8A
LINK FOR EBOOK https://amzn.to/2lTFg1S

Damilare. Not Your Typical

Follow my socials Instagram: @nytypical Twitter: @nytypical

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

Owning Your Own Ship

Collect my first book on kindle pre-order