Virgil Abloh x Braun: Virgil Abloh Is Designing His Personal Canon

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It’s pretty optimistic about where we can go. If you look at this project with Braun, for example: I come from a different background, but I respect heritage and DNA, and we are both doing something better than what we would have done apart. For companies or institutions – it can be a museum – that want to say: How do we update, how do we modernize? Tell new stories, place them in the hands of someone young and respect the past, and we will end up with better institutions. And that’s my MO

For years Rams designed, made everything, and then dropped his 10 design principles well into his career. I am curious: is this a path that you see for yourself? Will there be a code of which you are aware and you are not aware that sets out what is going on behind the big scheme of your work – shoes, design, fashion, everything?

You are right on it. By the time COVID hit I was already slowing my pace and once you hit an age mark like 40, shit looks different. I like that tension between terms I don’t like, like streetwear, and the ecosystem. So I always focused on writing it down precisely in stone. I often refer to my career as a Trojan horse. It’s like my internal speech.

What are you breaking into?

That is the question. It is better for you if a writer summarizes. Basically, you need a longer lens. Like in 30 years. If you look at Ram’s work and see where we are now, you can actually see it in higher resolution. So for me you have to work to come up with a hypothesis. Obviously, if you look into the Trojan Horse, there are all sorts of rules – all sorts of things going on, ways of creating and understanding culture. There is a hypothesis. And an industry and world that is not so diverse – art with a capital A, design with a capital D. In a figurative sense, this is the wall.

But how do you write it down so that others can do it and understand it, so that others can tear down the wall and others don’t have to run through the wall? This is where I come in. It serves to improve time and our culture. How do you become an advocate for change? I think Dieter Rams did that. He summarized his results. And I try. There are things that I play around with: new texts or a book. It doesn’t even have to manifest itself that way.

So it’s a little bit out there but not like Rams ’10.

Yes. What I find is that it creeps into work organically. I started COVID, the quarantine period, wrote this book and made a studio book. It’s called Black Canon, it has no text yet, it’s a compilation of ideas, but not intended for publication. It’s just supposed to sit there.

It’s your studio book.

Yes, and that informed us, for example, when you dial into the Braun project, when you watch the last Louis Vuitton show, or when you watch what I’m starting in the next few weeks for the rest of the year. It’s like I have a guiding principle on how to do what we did with the Braun project. Two different things.

This is the time you talk about. The tennis match is included in the book.

[Laughing] Yes exactly.

What are you looking forward to next?

What’s so strange is the New Year, but it seems we’re still in the balance. We all had the feeling that after 2021 the light would be seen at the end of the tunnel. But I’m such an overproducer that I stop myself. I am waiting for other friends to leave. I need a new Drake album, I need Rocky to do something, I need Rihanna. Just to sit back and enjoy the culture. It’s on my to-do list.

But producing less for you – what, third lane on the freeway?

[Laughs] Yes that is the problem. Between interviews, I have some crazy things going on. It just means doing things and keeping them under wraps. I have an Instagram post that I have to do in two minutes that is good.

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