The Baller Alert Show kicked off a special episode in collaboration with the High Museum, titled, “Figures of Speech: Atlanta Streetwear Conversation.”
Moderated by Kenny Burns, “Figures of Speech” explored the evolution of streetwear and unpacked the comments made by one of the most prominent designers in streetwear culture.
During the conversation, which aired on iHeartRadio on January 9, Burns sat down with three businesspeople, who he believed represented Atlanta culture and fashion. Together, Burns, Marina Skye, Kwassi Byll, and Renaldo Nehemiah praised Virgil Abloh’s overwhelming compliments, all while slamming him for his comments about streetwear.
“Wow, I would definitely say it’s gonna die,” Abloh said in an interview with Dazed. “Like, its time will be up. In my mind, how many more t-shirts can we own, how many more hoodies, how many sneakers? I think we’re going to hit this really awesome state of expressing your knowledge and personal style with vintage.”
“I think that Fashion is gonna go away from buying a box-fresh something, it’ll be like, ‘Hey, I’m going to go in my archive,” he said at the time.
The comments rubbed the panelists the wrong way, with Skye even taking offense to the statement. “First of all, you have the most popular streetwear clothing brand, and you are saying that it’s going to die,” she said. So, I’m just trying to figure out, are you just trying to push the culture for a second, and then pull out, or, like where are we going with this?”
But, she also played devil’s advocate, highlighting the fact that she has been hip to the vintage shopping trends. “I am personally excited that he feels like there is a new hope for the vintage world, but it hasn’t gone anywhere,” she added. “I guess I’m okay with him shedding some light.”
On the other hand, the men weren’t here for Abloh’s holier than thou approach to the culture that he has since dominated. “For him to be bolding to feel like you’re bigger than what made you, is kind of weird,” Nehemiah said. “For me personally, streetwear will never die cause I was raised in the street.”
“To say streetwear is dead, you gotta be from the muthafuckin streets,” Burns said, as he took control of the conversation. “We talk about culture vultures, and we talk about them being white, but we have our own culture vultures.”
As the conversation continued, Burns slammed self serving superheroes and reminded the audience of Abloh’s relation to Kanye West. “This is a selfless life, or it should be. And I think I said that because all the shit he making now is going to be in the thrift store. Ain’t nobody gon want that shit in 10 years. THat’s my personal opinion,” Burns said, as he, once again, highlighted Abloh’s fashion house accomplishment. “It is irresponsible for you to take streetwear culture, launch your career, and then say ‘Nah, it’s gon be done.’ It’s never gon be done. As long as poor people have vision and want to create, the streets will matter.”