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TIMEOUT - Take 1 - Vol. 1

11/28/2021 - A normal day to most, but for Ally and I it changed the course of our way of thinking. Not just in fashion and business, but in our...

11/28/2021 - A normal day to most, but for Ally and I it changed the course of our way of thinking. Not just in fashion and business, but in our movements and allocation of time here. November 28th, 2021 is the day that Virgil Abloh - husband, father, son, brother, visionary, business creator (VAA, Pyrex Vision, Off-White , owner, ICON, etc. - passed away tragically at the age of 41 from a rare form of heart cancer. The news spread like wildfire across the world through all mediums as artists, athletes, fashion houses, CEO’s, kids, accountants, IKEA workers, you name it, reached out with their condolences and memories of the fashion creator and bender. I can go on and on about him, but he was so much more than that to me.

Virgil and I were both born in Rockford, IL - a city of 150,000 people roughly 45 minutes North-West of Chicago, where we grew up and our families planted their roots! I moved out of Rockford around age 6 with my mom but landed only 5 minutes from the city limits in a town called Winnebago. For many reasons, this move made sense and it is the place I call home, but the stigmas and disengagement from Rockford was alarming - as I grew older, more was understood. Winnebago is a town of 3,000 made up of farm land, construction workers, teachers and basketball. That’s what they know. With that comes alot of other challenges being one of the only people of color in an all-white family in a town that is also 95% white (and that’s a generous percentage) and an absentee “dad” that I’ve still yet to talk to. Times were tough and I don’t need to go into exact detail, but you can imagine what that may entail with the aforementioned statements and I had to find my way… the only way I knew how. Basketball. 

Michael Jordan was my idol! When Space Jam was released, I think every kid had a 23 Bulls jersey, but mine was specifically worn out since I slept in it, sweat in it, blew my nose in it, hit fade away jumpers at the buzzer in my gravel driveway in it… haha. I wore it out! MJ served as the “father figure” I didn’t have at the time. I studied him and his movements on the court. I watched the way he competed at the highest level and how the other players on the court responded to him. He was different, but there was no social media or even Google at the time to dive any deeper into the GOAT residing less than an hour from me. Although Virgil was 11 years older than me, I’m sure he experienced something similar. 

MJ’s influence on fashion,  sports, and business is unmatched. “Air Jordan” was created and began to overtake the shoe industry on a global level. Nike surged as the leader in footwear everywhere you could get your hands on them. Remember, this was before the digital age, so you couldn’t just go to Stock X or to get what you really wanted! I was shopping at payless with my mom and copped the freshest off brand shoes or, if I got really lucky, the “Shaq’s” (shoutout to Shaq for making an affordable shoe for kids especially at this time) and beat them things up like no other learning how to dribble, pivot, turn around fade away, post up and dunk on anyone in my path (at 7 years old lol). This is what I knew. This is what I lived for and dreamed of. Being the next MJ and Shaq. I had the jumper, passing, vision, and handle sharpening over time and, in my mind, all I needed was one more thing… The shoes. I’ll tell you more next time. 

~With Love, 

A.J. of NAPD: Not A Pipe Dream


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