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Virgil Abloh's Tumblr is a trip down memory lane

How the American creative documented his era

Virgil Abloh's Tumblr is a trip down memory lane  How the American creative documented his era

There was a period at the beginning of the last decade when culture, fashion and music seemed more like one than they are today. A period of transition, which was leading us into the modern era and yet still retained something of the eccentric influences from the 1990s and 2000s. The air we breathed between 2011 and 2012 was unique: now social networks are the norm, as are cameras on mobile phones and the habit of instagramming everything that happens under our noses, but ten years ago the perspective of recording everything that happened wasn't so common. Yet if there is one thing that Virgil Abloh loved to do ever since it was communicating, expressing himself even with the most insignificant social post. Without Instagram, Virgil Abloh's diary was Tumblr, a social network that only to name it takes us back to a past made up of moodboards and retro aesthetics in which the most disparate contents found space on a single platform. We are lucky that Virgil used it, because through his Tumblr account you can discover an underwater world, actually far from the one we live in today. Like a reporter, Abloh has captured moments of his life and that of others with his mobile phone, telling us about a distant dimension made of DJ sets, group photos, but also images of cars seen on the street and Vuitton bags, a kind of capsule of time perhaps designed precisely to crystallize the streets of that time and preserve those same images for the future. On the other hand, we are still talking about the years of Watch The Throne and Yeezus, the birth of Been Trill, the black and white aesthetic of Abloh.

Photos that accurately frame everything that was before the hype for a pair of Nike x Off-White. The @virgilabloh.tumblr page on Instagram digs into the Chicago creative's archive to retrieve testimonies of his thirties, the years in which he exploded, made himself known, lived to the fullest. This is confirmed by the photos of his first works, the cover of Otis by Kanye West and Jay-Z, the posters of the Been Trill evenings or the backstage passes at the Watch The Throne Tour concerts. And then the snapbacks, the screenshots of the iPhone 4 with old Twitter and Tumblr logos, graphics by Riccardo Tisci from Givenchy.

Over the years, Virgil's social communication has evolved, completing the transition from the Tumblr ecosystem to that of Instagram. If before Abloh constantly narrated his life through a special filter, until a few days before his death, on Instagram he opted for a more 'institutional' communication, aimed more at promoting himself rather than at 'collecting' what inspired him from the surrounding world. His Instagram account was interesting to follow, due to her personal cut: a photo of Maybach logo and a selfie can't be compared. In fact, Abloh's last years on the social network founded by David Karp have been forgettable, with his feed becoming a simple showcase for what he conceived from Off-White: he had creativity lost or had time simply passed? Now that Virgil has left us, his enlightening ideas, his futuristic vision, his successful projects will certainly remain, but also his past documented on Tumblr, perhaps a little yellowed by time, but indelible in the collective memory. Virgil Abloh was like us: his life was a dream, his and that of many, so much that he too could not believe his eyes. This is why he used the flash of his iPhone camera so often, he wanted to immortalize his own experience and prove to himself and those around him that dreams can sometimes come true.