Note: Corey Populus designs streetwear brand Circulate Worldwide. Here, he describes his experience at Paris Men’s Fashion Week. 

The first time I went to Paris for Fashion Week was in 2018. I always just felt left out because I’m a streetwear nerd. When it comes to sneakers and T-shirts, and skateboarding, that’s my lane. But when it comes to high-end fashion, I’m not well versed in that area yet. My really good friend Shane [Gonzales] who designs the brand Midnight Studios is fully immersed in that world. So for years he was going to Fashion Week and he would come back and tell me about it. And I always just kind of felt left out because that’s not my world. When Virgil started doing his thing, I was like, “Yo. Now I kind of have a way to access it.” I didn’t get to go to all the other shows, but I had more of a reason to pop up. This season was the first time I was able to check out other shows and I realized how strict they are and how lucky I’ve been to be able to participate and go to shows.

I met Virgil around 2010 or 2009. I used to work at Diamond Supply Co. on Fairfax. At one point Ibn Jasper started working a lot with Diamond and he would come by the shop all of the time with Virgil. And for some reason Virgil just gravitated towards me. He’d be like, “Yo, so what’s the wave? What’s everyone doing around here? What’s hot?” We would just chop it up and that’s how we formed our friendship and kept in contact through the years. He was really huge into skateboarding, and I always felt like he’s the older version of me because we had the same interests.

When I found out he landed at Louis Vuitton I thought it was such a huge deal. I always saw Virgil as someone like me who is really into streetwear. And he was Black. So, I was definitely shocked and I was super proud of him. I remember that day when all of the press photos were going around and that was insane.