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The Fashion Geek Podcast

66 | A Tribute To Virgil Abloh

Reg talks about the sudden passing of Virgil Abloh and the impact he made in the fashion game.

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00:00 Introduction to Reg Ferguson
00:45 A Solo Episode: Virgil Abloh Tribute
03:18 Virgil Abloh's Impact on Fashion
04:19 The Journey of Virgil and Kanye
06:51 Off-White and Beyond
07:34 Breaking Barriers in Fashion
12:06 Virgil's Legacy and Collaborations
20:16 Personal Reflections and Condolences

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Reginald Ferguson [00:00:00]: I'm Reg Ferguson and I'm a fashion consultant from New York City, born and raised. I've been helping men look fly for years. And now, I wanna help you learn more about menswear. The entrepreneurs, the brands, and top fashion tips on The Fashion Geek Podcast. Yo. This is your host, Reg Ferguson, of the Fashion Geek podcast. How are you? It's been a minute. I hope you have had a good holiday. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:37]: For those of you who know me, you know me. And for those of you who don't, welcome to the Fashion Geek podcast. I've had audience members, followers, people at the podcast have asked me for a long time to do my own episode solo. No interview. No cohost. And I've been thinking about it, went back and forth, and people were nudging me as recently. It's just probably a week or 2 ago. And I had really big ideas, and I said, alright. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:19]: Fine. I'm gonna do it. And I was gonna make a big splash about it. But then something came up, which has brought me here today. And this is just gonna be strictly off the dome. It's not gonna be as structured as previous episodes. But I hope you enjoy it just the same. And one day, I'll do a very official thing for a Soul episode. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:50]: But for today, I just wanna give I just wanna give my thoughts and my heart to Virgil Abloh. I was literally on the phone with a good friend of mine, big shout out to Tracy McGraw, And we were having a conversation, and then all of a sudden, she said, oh my god. Virgil Blow is gone. And I said to her, what? And I was on my phone, and my phone doesn't have notifications. I have that on my other devices. And I said, hold on because she is formally in PR. She has a lot of contacts. And this was a this was a text from someone she knew. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:42]: So I ran into my master bedroom, and I looked at my device, and I saw what all of you now know. And I was blown away. I was shocked, and I was saddened. I never met Virgil Blow. I don't know people who know him, yet I am I'm definitely affected, and probably the reasons will be painfully obvious to you as the listener. This man in a short expanse of time changed the game of fashion and made an impact that will be felt for years to come. I mean, we're talking about making an impact in culture through fashion in less than 20 years. Not many people can say that. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:58]: It puts him in a echelon that is noteworthy. He's from the shy. Yeah. I'm from New York. So big city, the big city, much respect. Down with Kanye. They hooked up, they met, and then they rolled. And if you remember, in 2009, at the Paris show, it was Kanye, Virgil, and a few other dudes. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:36]: I don't know their names, but I just remember seeing this photo and just laughing, to be honest. Because as we all know, they stuck out like sore thumbs because it was a crew of young black men. But they wanted to they wanted to make an impact, But they also wanted to learn and observe. And they got into some shows. They got turned away from many shows. I believe one of the shows that get into was Fendi. Don't quote me. And this led to a great opportunity because Kanye and Virgil intern at Fendi. Reginald Ferguson [00:05:28]: And I think as much as they learned, they also proceeded to to make an impact. And it seems like their friendship was fast. It grew quickly, and they were co collaborators. Virgil was creative director of Donda. That's Kanye's brand. And they were off to the races. I remember hearing about them because of an expression that I barely knew at the time. Deadstock. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:13]: Virgil had bought some Polo Ralph Lauren deadstock tops and did some screen printing. Hit the number 23 for Jordan. And order them at 40, sort them at 550. Woo. That to me was really impressive. He was impressive. He was an architect. As a friend of mine would say, he was a mind. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:53]: And few years later, he launches Off White. When he did that dead stock thing, that was Pyrex vision, and that kind of morphed. He shut it down, but then it morphed in my mind. Created off white in Milan. That was around, what, 2012. I thought it was a cool name. I didn't know much about it, to be honest, and started doing things. Streetwear, men's wear, women's wear. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:34]: I think it's really important to understand that no matter who you look like, but particularly if you are a person of color, The reason why this hurts is for many reasons. The most apparent one is he was the first and only African American to run a division of a French fashion house, a European fashion house with Louis Vuitton. I mean, to me, that meant the sky was the limit. And the visionary up and all or no, LVMH. He put this man in charge, and he was going strong for the past few years. He started, what, 2018, I believe. And that was just a shining example for people in the hoods of Chicago, For people in the hoods of Ghana, where his parents were from. And he wanted people of color to know that if he could do it, they could do it too. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:11]: He had a scholarship fund to support black businesses, Supported students. Was a mentor to a lot of African Americans. And if you remember a few years ago, let's keep it real. He had caught some flack because of the lack of diversity allegedly on his team. But the one thing I have learned about him just from reading was that he always wanted to do things his way on his terms. And that's why he mentored. That's why he developed a scholarship fund. He understood the intersection of race through fashion. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:59]: He understood from 2,009 and probably before then that he hurdled a wall that people who didn't look like him want him to overcome. They built that wall. He made streetwear into luxury wear. He did not like that street wear was confined to a box. It's ironic that I'm talking about this because what you don't know is for quite a long time, I was invited to do a a guest blog on a men's fashion site. And I started mucking around with an article, and I shelved it. And the irony is I started working on it in earnest last week with a very good friend of mine who's a up and coming writer. Big shout out to Natalie Minor Pond. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:05]: And I mentioned Virgil in this blog post. And that's why I knew I had to I had to speak on the mic today. LVMH, Louis Vuitton, Moe Hennessy, they purchased 60% of Off White. That is belief in a man's vision. They understand that they have these classic brands, historic brands, and they understand and Arnel understands us very well because he has his offspring in key leadership positions that they need to they need to catch the young people. And Virgil represented that. He's one of Time Magazine's most influential in 2018, if I recall. I got to see him through a webinar last year on the business of fashion. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:25]: It was interesting just hearing the man speak, pontificate, flow. Some of it I got, some of it I didn't. Keep it real. But it was just so great to see someone who looked like me, who I knew was running things and running things based on his his intellect, his creativity, his design sensibility. It made me proud. Truly did. I remember reading that the Museum of Contemporary Art, MCA in Chicago, was doing a retrospective for him. And I just said to myself, oh my gosh, like this is in his hometown, but more importantly, he's not an old man and he's doing this. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:23]: My blog is going to be about streetwear. And I don't want to really delve into it because I'm hoping that you check out the blog when I launch it. And I liked what he was doing with these sneakers, man. He was taking the Nikes I grew up with, nineties era Nikes, and he was putting his spin on it. And he made them, inaccessible to me. They were too expensive. But if you've seen on those sneakers, whether they were the airs, the dunks, had the interesting labeling things in all uppercase quotes, plastic ties. People ate that collab up. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:27]: I watched from afar. I thought it was interesting. He designed a cool ass tennis dress for Serena. So that was a Nike off white Serena collab. And it seemed as though from what I read, he had so much respect for Serena as a thought leader. He didn't even lead off with athleticism, and he said the collaboration was effortless. I just I just love seeing black on black love in that fashion. Like the way he supported surfers and skaters back in his his parents home in Accra and Ghana, hooking them up with stuff. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:31]: There's a team of brothers in Paris who are in this weird state in terms of the documented, but they're not fully citizens. And he created a soccer jersey for this team Because of their status, they couldn't play an official competition. But he recognized them. He understood there before the grace of God go I. He fixed parks in the Shai. His big show in Paris, I believe in 2018, invited thousands of school kids So they can see the dream is real. The dream is within them. He said that every time he created something, he created it for the 17 year old of of him in him. Reginald Ferguson [00:16:43]: That's so impressive. That'd be so hard for me to do. Seems like it was so long ago. He did mad collabs. Robbie Parker here in the city, Jimmy Choo, Ikea. He was he was indeed a multi hyphenate. And I like I like that. Can we even talk about this man was a DJ. Reginald Ferguson [00:17:21]: I had a chance. I was in a clubhouse room that same day, that Sunday, with people who knew him. And it was just great to be in their fellowship and just listen. And I literally had an opportunity to hear some of his mixes and I had never had before. I was always curious. I'd see, like, video, but I would never, like, turn on the audio. But he loved he loved music. The black music. Reginald Ferguson [00:17:59]: He was the art director for Watch the Throne. Remember when that came out in the crazy, crazy buzz, kaboom, jigging easy. It's a pretty cool album. Oh man. Caught some heat. There's this site. I can't remember. I can't remember the name of it. Reginald Ferguson [00:18:34]: It's a guy and a girl. I should have done that as research. I know I'm doing off the dome, so forgive me. But they had slapped his wrist because he had definitely cribbed on some styles from other people. That's Reginald Ferguson [00:18:55]: legit. Reginald Ferguson [00:18:59]: But he did enough on his own to make an impact. When Nike comes to you and says, hey, we wanna do this collab. I believe it was called the 10. And he took 10 styles from my era from the nineties. He did his own thing. And he only made a 3% change due to the reverence he had for the style, for the silhouette. The Nike came out back then. I remember rocking sneakers, particularly Nikes in the eighties nineties and saying to myself, these styles are amazing. Reginald Ferguson [00:19:39]: Of course, I was at the time, but I just remember saying, no. Some of these, not all of them, but some of these, these are different. And this did the test of time. Dunks, Jordans, Air Force Ones. There's not much more for me to say, Reginald Ferguson [00:20:16]: but I'm so touched, and yet I'm so hurt that this life force Reginald Ferguson [00:20:25]: couldn't be here for a longer period of time. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:32]: My condolences go to his family, to his 2 children, his babies, to his parents. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:44]: No parent wants to outlive their child. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:49]: No spouse wants to lose their mate and no industry wants to lose a king for a blow. God rest your soul, man. We never met, but I had so much respect for you. Can't wait to do this blog in which you're referenced, and I hope people love it because that's all it comes from. It's gonna come from love, my love for streetwear and hip hop and your your late addition to it. May God rest your soul, mister Blue. You will always be Reginald Ferguson [00:21:49]: fly.
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