We lost a rare one.
Yesterday evening I received word from my friend Premium Pete that Gary Warnett passed. Of course the news caught me off guard. I immediately pulled up my personal Twitter and fired off a few tweets in remembrance of someone I consider to be the true definition of an OG.
To know the name Gary Warnett would mean you have truly been connected to sneaker and streetwear culture for the pass decade (or longer). That, or you’ve worked with him behind the scenes at a sneaker/streetwear brand.
I found out about Gary from reading Crooked Tongues back when I first started this blog. I later found out about his personal blog and his contributions to Hypebeast as well as his massive ghostwriting catalog (Gary would spell “catalogue” like this though).
The U.K. native was truly invested in the culture. You hear the word culture thrown around a lot, but Gary was of the culture and for the culture. Find someone who disagrees and I’ll buy you whatever you desire as long as I can afford it.
The funny thing is, I didn’t know Gary well on a personal level but he was so honest and transparent online that I felt like I knew him for years. I finally got a chance to meet him last year at a Converse event in Boston (photo above). He’s one of the few people from the industry that I was excited to meet.
I put my ego and pride aside and introduced myself. “What up, Gary! I’m G-Roc from TheShoeGame.” His response, “I know exactly who you are.” That means a whole lot when people like Gary say something like that because everyone wants to be recognized for their contributions to the culture. Gary was definitely one of those guys you wanted a cosign from.
That said, I was pleased to hear Gary compliment TSG on its unique comment/community aspect. He also let me know that his favorite TSG piece was an interview I conducted with Peter Fogg. Does that name ring a bell? I didn’t think so, and that’s why Gary appreciated it so much.
Peter is one of the most underrated Nike designers. He designed one of my favorite ACG models, the Air Terra Humara. If you know anything about Gary, you know he loved all-things Nike ACG. So out of all the awesome Nike designers, seeing me interview Peter Fogg was impressive to Gary and knowing that I impressed a guy like him made me feel good.
After the Converse dinner, Gary and I had a two hour (or longer) conversation about everything from sneaker culture, streetwear, London, Atlanta, to hip hop. Gary was so damn knowledgeable it’s not even funny.
This was something I already knew, but talking to him in person was crazy! Dude knew so much stuff about music it was mind-blowing. To be honest, I was really impressed because here’s this white guy from the United Kingdom and he knew more about culture, including American culture, than most people I know. To say he was a student of the game would be an understatement.
Man, that was a conversation I didn’t want to end.
I woke up this morning thinking about Gary, still sad about the reality that he passed. But it brings me joy to see sooooo many people from the industry celebrating his legacy.
As I reflect, I wonder if Gary realized how important he was to the culture. The many people who looked up to him. How impactful and influential he was. How much the industry will miss him.
Honestly, I think he was somewhat aware, but I don’t think he knew just how valuable he was to us.
Photos: Ryan Case and Skepta