Virgil Abloh and Heron Preston are 2 of the most influential people in fashion right now, so when they tell you what it takes to be cool, you should be sitting up and listening.
At Vogue‘s inaugural Forces of Fashion conference, Vogue’s Fashion News Director Chioma Nnadi sat down with the pair to discuss everything from what it takes in 2017 to be cool to where brands such as Supreme are now heading.
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When asked what “cool” means, Abloh related the following:
“I recently had an epiphany where I coined this new term, “influencer gulfstream.” Look at this community: I’m sure there are people here from all ends of the earth, let alone from all over the country, but we are connected through the internet and we are sharing without having to be in the same space. Heron and I are part of this international tribe that is connecting cities. It’s no longer just one city—we’ve made links with London, Paris, Russia—and some of our friendships were digital that turned physical. Is it cool to have a denim jacket that is short here [points to jacket]? That gets decided in an “influencer gulfstream.” We are [going to] new cities and connecting new dots and we are also inclusive.”
While discussing Supreme’s $500 million investment from the Carlyle Group and if the company will be able to stay so coveted, Preston answered:
“Staying honest, staying true to the core, that’s what [Supreme founder] James [Jebbia] has been sharp at. Companies are just people, that’s what they are.”
Abloh quickly tacked on:
“In my mind, the coolest things are when someone is so specific and they’ve sort of blocked out every notion of what you’re supposed to do and they do something pure — that’s what I search for. Everything that I obsessed about, the variance was only one or two percent from the core. Individuality is the essence of what’s cool. You can replace ‘cool’ as a figurative thing with ‘being yourself,’ but being so specific that people can find you.”
In addition, on the topic of “luxury,” the Off-White founder offered:
“My internal tool for digesting the word “luxury” is to determine whether or not something is “coveted.” If you covet it, it’s luxurious to you. 17-year-old kids covet Supreme—a Supreme T-shirt is their Louis Vuitton. I learned about fashion by watching Marc Jacobs decide to use Takashi Murakami on a bag—that was my first luxury purchase and it opened up the world of art to me. Now, if you’re 17 years old, going into the Supreme store and buying that first T-shirt is something you won’t lose for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter if it is $30, that 17-year-old kid is going to remember Supreme for the rest of their lives. The unique position in which Heron and I sit is that we are creating for the 17-year-old. We are on the bench of the Mercer, not in the Mercer lobby—we are on the bench, signing sneakers, hanging out, and taking photos. The next generation’s idea of luxury might be cool.”