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Remembering Virgil Abloh
A few half-baked thoughts on his legacy, what he meant to me, and why life isn't fair.
Sprezza is a weekly newsletter exploring the intersection of clothing and culture.
There’s an iconic photo that’s forever imprinted in my memory. It’s Kanye at Paris Fashion Week in 2009. This was peak #Menswear era, a brief cultural moment where all men’s clothing was over the top. The colors, pocket squares, layering, accessorizing; what a time to be alive.
This photo was also taken around the time Ye wanted to break into fashion design. He wanted to chart his own path, show you can have different careers outside of music, to prove it could be done.
Here’s that photo… Ye and his posse are full-fledged peacocks here.
You know who else made it in that photo?
Yep. A 28yo Virgil Abloh.
He went to Paris on a similar journey. Shortly after Fashion Week, both Kanye and Virgil were invited to intern for Fendi in Rome, launching their design careers in the luxury world.
The rest is history…
Virgil meant a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, a creative genius and groundbreaking designer. And to others, the not so flattering stuff, like boring, ripoff, copycat.
You can argue about Virgil’s designs and projects and collabs all you want.
But I don’t care what you say. Hold on to your criticism.
Because what made Virgil beautiful has nothing to do with the minutia of what he did, and everything to do with the vision that he had for his life. In his 41 short years, he played the role of designer, architect, spouse, writer, musician, creative director, father, communicator, friend, visionary.
Virgil pushed us to dream, and to dream big. To be creatively present. To try shit. To think outside the box.
In a world where we’re herded like sheep and pushed to be carbon copies of each other, a little dose of different is exactly what we need.
And to think he was barely getting started.
Life’s just not fair.
But one thing I’m reminded of when I think of Virgil is that sometimes people exist to show you what’s possible in this life.
For me, I grew up in a poor, rural town. I probably wasn’t supposed to “make it out,” but I did by what felt like sheer luck and willpower. People like Virgil helped me over the years believe that I can be anyone, that I can go anywhere, that I can do anything.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Virgil, sadly. But if I did have that opportunity, I imagine he’d say something to the effect of…
“you can do it too.”
We’ll miss you Virgil. Thank you for letting us in to your mind.
Rest in peace.