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If You Thought Virgil Abloh Was “Original,” Then You Really Don’t Get It

“In early 2017, Raf Simons, the newly minted Calvin Klein creative director, did an interview with GQ in which he singled out Virgil as being nice, but uniquely unoriginal as a designer. At the time, rumors were swirling that Abloh was being vetted to become Riccardo Tisci’s replacement at Givenchy, and industry Whatsapp groups buzzed loudly about whether Raf’s words were part of a coordinated attempt to discredit the Off-White designer. And while I won’t take a Glenn Beck chalkboard out and start drawing a Da Vinci code diagram on that subject (also, the GQ interview took place before the Tisci announcement), there was definitely something strange about the comment. To start, it was in response to a question about what designers inspired Simons, to which he answered “Not Off-White,” not bothering to even refer to Abloh by name.

Conservatism is a belief system that is defined by a desire to return to a mythical time when things were allegedly better, simpler, and more pure. And, in the case of both political conservatives and many Abloh critics, this bygone “golden age” is one that had a lot less access for people of color.”

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