"My greatest design tool personally is to look at what that genre is doing and make it 3–5 percent different. It’s in a way, trolling," Virgil Abloh told the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture during a design lecture a few years back—a sentiment he would echo with similar language in a lot of his public speeches. He was always clear about the ways in which he wasn’t aiming to reinvent the wheel with his design; rather, he would make small tweaks to make a final product more true to his vision.
This ethos courses through most of my conversation with Donny the Dybbuk, who put me onto the quote during our conversation. Donny has gone from making customs in his living room to running a multi-million dollar sneaker brand, which now creates all of its products entirely from scratch. We had a chance to talk about the genesis of the brand, his favorite thing about designing sneakers and the drop coming up this Friday.