The Brilliance!


We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.


Interview! > Virgil Abloh !

follow virgil on twitter @virgilabloh

BENJAMIN: Brick-and-mortor stores vs. web stores in the fashion industry - who is going to win?

VIRGIL: Man. Retail is a wild thing. Before hopping into it I was under the impression that retail in general makes tons of money. Not true. Satisfying as a creative and comminuity outlet? Totally. With the speed that trends start and stop by the week the web is totally going to win in the numbers game. The real magic is the sliding scale of when production can occur for web based entities.

At the end of the day tho physical retail you can't fake what that does for your soul. Its will always win in the authenticy game. It's why I studied architecture. Real spaces evoke real feelings. On a website as long as the background is white and you use the right font I am into it. That said. I love shopping online to buy. I love shopping in different cities to catch a vibe. My materialism is real.

CHUCK: Talk a bit about RSVP Gallery in Chicago - how did it get started? What's your role there? Is there anything beyond a single Chicago shop planned for the future?

VIRGIL: An interesting side project for sure. Don C and I started the shop as a creative outlet and to bring pieces of what we have seen around the world back to Chicago. Along the way its been rewarding to see it as a brand and a platform for kids to be creative and learn under us. We actually all learning as we self-taught ourselves how the business works. 

Boutiques like these are in my mind modern museums. I look at it as a mission in life to contunite the tradition of Colette and Sarah started in Paris.  

BENJAMIN: Thoughts on such a young NYC kid like Alexander Wang being at such a proper Paris fashion house like Balenciaga?

VIRGIL: Thats the exact moment my quote "The youth will always win." came from. I think i tweeted something about how awesome it is that Wang listens to our music, in the same clubs as us and whips around Mercer in a matte black Range. Wang is us and and represents us. Kids that grew up in the Jordan era, skated and in their blood knows why the movie KIDS meant need to be in seats to get up to bat and put our perspective to influence and design our current culture.

Wang's first collection!!! Show me one better last fashion week.

BENJAMIN: As a sneaker company, what could Vans do better?

VIRGIL: Let me design a Vans Era. Haha. Vans is a timeless rooted in authentic history. They essentially need to do nothing. The era to do a luxury version department has kinda passed. Artist collab era has passed to. I have one idea but any more of this thought process is going to cost money.  #duh :)

BENJAMIN: Why does tumblr work?

VIRGIL: I know why it works, just doesn't know dont know why it works that well. Theres something crazy about it...
The internet is where you can visually stimulate your self to the point where you feel your experiencing something. A car, a film, a party, a song a vacation spot anything. Tumblr is like a mood board for the life kids want to live. Better than a resume. I am interested how they set the creative direction so hard in the beginning that users now have an embedded sense of what is "tumblr-worthy" thats interesting to me. Imagine of you could do that to Wal-mart?

BENJAMIN: What's been your favorite project since your last post on THE BRILLIANCE?

VIRGIL: Its all a blur. It feels like all one project. Every project has been a favorite project because its all culture related. 

BENJAMIN: Did we break any of those sofas we were jumping on at Watch The Throne in Detroit?

VIRGIL: Man. Nightly Evil Knievel I call it. The seating set up we have was an innovation amongst everything else in that room. Killer idea to interior tailgate inside the the show and have all the friends come thru every night. Whats the point of creating if you cant have all your friends come thru and soak it in. But yeah. I can't tell you how many times I narrowly escaped death balancing on those couches with drink in hand. They didnt break but I almost did some nights.

BENJAMIN: Favorite skateboarder right now?

VIRGIL: Man so many kids killing it its hard to even keep up. Speaking of those throne couches Ibn had Sean Malto come thru in Kansas City. Skaters can definitely drink any other athlete under the table. But he's one of my favorites. That Pretty Sweet film basically changed my life. Everybody blew my mind. Also Lev of the PALACE kids are my homies. I am a fan their whole aesthetic and what they bring to skateboarding.

BENJAMIN: Do you have a rough idea of how many miles you've flown in your entire life?

VIRGIL: Shit. Too many. I have flown on average 12 hours a week for the last 8 years of my life. So my total is a ton.

BENJAMIN: GIFs or videos?

VIRGIL: Videos now. After directing my first ever film for PYREX VISION I finally found that side of my brain. I wanna live in that world a bit. But I like GIFs. GIFs always feel like magic to me. Like a bit of slight of hand. 

BENJAMIN: Same as I asked Chuck, how is the iPad going to play into your daily creative life in 3 years.  Death of keyboards and a mouse?

VIRGIL: I cant wait to have the laptop screen be touch screen. I cant wait for ADOBE to be in a touch screen environment. Seems ludacris (spelling error but I love it) that its not already. I can't wait for Apple products to get crazy thin and be matte black again. I am into form factors that are all futuristic like that. Fuck rounded corners. Everything squarish. Super Dieter Rams.

BENJAMIN: Pyrex Vision in 3 words?

VIRGIL: A side project.

CHUCK: Besides the usual suspects like (NY, Chi, LA, Miami) what are your US favorite cities? Of all the places in the world you've traveled to, which ones were the most pleasantly surprising? Like, places you didn't know much about but left feeling in love with it?

VIRGIL: US cities hahaa, those are my top four, shit. Outside of that I would have to say Jackson Hole, WY. I spent serious time snowboarding in the backcountry there in college. Super rare place on earth. But Stockholm is that exact city you described. Went there with no real expectations and left like 4 great friends and 2 favorite restaurants, favorite hotel in the world and an urge to live there someday.

CHUCK: What's the last movie you saw and was it any good? What's the most visually inspiring movie you've ever seen?

VIRGIL: Just saw Place Behind the Pines. Its not out yet but is that Drive for 2013. Ryan Goseling again, hes got crazy Russian Tattoos and has a story line that isn't predictable. On the visually inspiring tip I have seen my fair share of Holy Mountians, Stanely Kubrick, films, or the straight visually films and that and ironically enough I have found myself into proper films with great cinematic vibes to them. Story telling and great camera work. That film CONTROL about Joy Division is personally the most impactful film I have seen as of late. The fact that its black and white and art directed really well has sharpen my taste in life and eye in films the most. 

CHUCK: Favorite music video as a kid? Favorite in the last 10 years? Favorite of 2013 so far?

VIRGIL: Any Clipse, Pharrell video during that era. That was it. The daytime BMX shots down suburb streets too night time whole block in the streets of Virginia or in the kitchen those shots are burned in my brain. As of late...hmmm...There so many video directors making "weird" videos its getting a bit stale. I love Wolf Haley videos. My friend Nabils video for Antony and the Johnsons is movie level. Love that video. You can't forget DGainz Chief Keef videos. New genere alert! I love anything that is perfect and effortless.

CHUCK: What are your favorite NBA uniforms of all-time? Favorite NBA player as a kid and favorite now?

VIRGIL: Of all time. Man. great question. Only the old steeze. Bulls, Celtics. Denver Nuggets you can't forget. I love the timelssness of it. Just the other day I was looking at how incredible the San Antonio Spurs logo works for the "U" in Spurs being an actual Spur. Sport logo designs. Thats a whole other level. Makes by brain hurt.

CHUCK: Top 3 funnest Instagrams to follow?

VIRGIL: @ianconnorsrevenge King of the Youth, the next big art director from America
my homie Scott, just joined but will shine, just watch. @letthelordbewithyou
@dgainz is good for hood meme's

CHUCK: If you sort your iTunes by Most Played, what's the top 3 tracks?

VIRGIL: LOL great question. I dj from my laptop so the distorted BEEN TRILL soundeffect is the first. Frank Ocean Pyramids is 2nd and Chief Keef Love Sosa rounds out the third.

CHUCK: Do you spend much time in Photoshop these days? Illustrator?

VIRGIL: When I started I used to shy away from Photoshop and mainly live in Illustrator. Now I am 50/50. My style is to copy and paste back and forth. As well I am now really only mocking things up as fast as possible. I am constatnly screen grabbing things and dragging them into either program. Its super-fast but super-annoying to keep an organized desktop for what I do. Currently there are 1,399 images on my desktop. 1,399 !!!

CHUCK: You worked on the packaging for Watch The Throne and it was nominated for a Grammy. (!!!) I remember when I first saw that and I flipped out - was so happy for you. Feels like a dream come true for an artist kid, you know? What was that like? Did you have any idea it was coming?

VIRGIL: Wild. Super wild. I was lucky enough to be apart of an unheard creative team. Kanye West, Riccardo Tisci and Jay-Z. It still trips me out that I know those guys let alone their phone numbers are in my phone. #wild #being-vague #stories-for-the-next-time-we-interview-ourselves #