Virgil Abloh once took a bunch of off-the-shelf shirts, screen printed “Pyrex 23” on them, and sold them for 7x more than what he paid.
His idol, Marcel Duchamp, had said (long before), “I don’t believe in art, I believe in artists.”
And that’s what Abloh was all about. Putting a spin on it. Making the ordinary, the overlooked, and the everyday – exceptional.
He was name-checked in I don’t know how many songs, but the one I immediately thought of when I heard the news this week was, “DR BIRDS” by Griselda.
If we’ve been friends for a while, I’ve probably sent you this song at least twice. If you only know me through these posts, send me an email and I’ll send it to you a second time to catch you up.
Westside Gunn is, at the time of this recording, a mid-30s rapper, hustler, and entrepreneur from Buffalo, NY. Over a skeleton beat, he runs through connection after connection between the daily grind, spirituality, and the most aspirational of aspirational luxury. The keystone lyric in his verse echoes through the rest of the song, and it’s the line, “told Virgil write brick on my brick.”
From street corners to world-famous, the everyday can be everything if we frame it right. RIP Virgil Abloh.
Listen to the song. Listen to “The Designer Who Made Streetwear Luxury” on The Journal podcast. Read posts like “Looking Back on Virgil Abloh’s Best Career Moments” over at High Snobiety. We lost a legend here.