Virgil Abloh is hosting a collaborative collection of wearable art on his digital archive and art shop, Canary Yellow. Each of the one-of-a-kind pieces in the “Beverly Hirst Recycler” collection was previously owned by the artworld's enfant terrible, Damien Hirst, before being ingeniously reworked by designer and upcycler, Tetsuzo Okubo. Though decorated with cultural and artistic significance, both artists stress that the pieces are designed to be worn.
Okubo spoke to Highsnobiety about how the project came together. "Everything started two years ago. Damien was my long-time customer; One day he came to my studio then we talked about collaboration."
The pieces were shipped from Hirst’s England’s Landing studio to Okubo's atelier in Los Angeles, with both adding their own signature touches and additions to each of the garments. The first piece which is being auctioned today features original paint splatters from when it was worn by Hirst in the studio. It has since been handpainted by Hirst and adorned with the artist's iconic skull designs. From there it was sent to Okubo's atelier to receive further embellishments including his trademark smiley face patches.
"My most favorite one was 'Diamond skull jacket with silk printed lining' revealed Okubo, adding that Virgil Abloh owns the piece. "Virgil and Damien are good friends and Virgil was interested in our project so I asked him about this auction project because I think he has a lot of great ideas. That's when he introduced me to the Canary Yellow team."
Abloh has described the collaboration as emblematic of the way creativity has managed to thrive despite the challenges of the past year. The pandemic has confronted consumers with the importance of conservation and recycling, particularly when it comes to fashion. Abloh himself has introduced the Upcycling Ideology for Louis Vuitton, where upcycled looks from prior collections are combined with new looks.
LV's Spring/Summer 2021 menswear show, which was held in Tokyo, contained 25 looks made from recycled materials, and 70 looks from the previous collection in Shanghai, re-shown. To quote Abloh, "No season is an old season. In a fast-paced and fleeting time, repetition equals documentation: gestures made and lessons learned." This ideology is at play in the transatlantic, “Beverly Hirst Recycler” collection.
One item from the collection will drop on Virgil Abloh’s modern gallery and retail platform www.Canary---Yellow.com until the end of this week