Photos by Om. Made with iPhone 13 Pro Max.

I was saddened by the passing of young and exciting new designer Virgil Abloh. He was so young and fresh in his thinking about pop culture and how it intersected with fashion. I had met him a while ago at the launch of the Apple Watch, and we talked about sneakers and pop culture. It was not difficult to get in a conversation with him. I have followed his work from the time he worked with Kanye West. In his obituaries, this one paragraph from the accompanying text for his exhibition, Figures of Speech stood out.

Tourist and purist, that’s my main device to understand the sections of culture, that move culture forward. You have a purist, that’s like, I know the whole art history of everything, you can’t do this, this was done 20-times before you thought of it. Like, this is the pure institution. Then there’s the tourist, who’s bright-eyed, curiosity-driven, that has a lust for learning, and they support whatever.

In an interview with Vogue, Abloh elaborated in even simpler terms:

“It’s my organizing principle for my point of view when I make things. A tourist is someone who’s eager to learn, who wants to see the Eiffel Tower when they come to Paris. The purist is the person who knows everything about everything.”

I have written in the past — the hardest thing for me is to unlearn everything to make room for new things in my thinking. This organizing principle just might be Abloh’s best gift to us, who run the risk of finding ourselves in the expert trap.

In conversation w Outlier co-founder Abe Burmeister

And we are back on Pi.co, with my latest conversation with Abe Burmeister, co-founder, and CEO of New York-based technical/daily clothing brand, Outlier. During our hour-long conversation we touched on a variety of topics, from technical clothing, changing reality of fashion, impact of climate change on fashion and materials, bootstrapping his business and more importantly, why he does what he does. If you are a keen follower of technical clothing and interested in small businesses that eschew venture capital and figure out trends before others, then this is a conversation worth your time.

If you would like to skip reading, then here is the podcast version. 

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Abe Burmeister

Abe Burmeister used to be an information designer where he made interfaces for real-time stock networks. Now he is the fashion designer & co-founder of Outlier. He was born in Manhattan but has since defected to Brooklyn. Introduction Abe Burmeister is the co-founder and co-creator of cult favorite clothing brand, Outlier. To call their products … Continue reading Abe Burmeister