Being around the “footwear scene” for so many years there are several people from around the world (many of which I’ve never met) that I’ve had a camaraderie of sorts with – as strange as that may sound to some. Gary Warnett was part of that. Although I’ve never personally met him, my earliest memories of Gary were on Crooked Tongues where I -like many -gravitated towards the forums to share memories and obsess over obscure footwear brands that didn’t get much love stateside.
When the time came, Crooked Tongues became one of the few forums- where I was comfortable enough to share photo’s and info from my own personal blog – without the fear of being marked off as spam (thanks sneakers.fr). Annoying tags and all Gary embraced me there -and unbeknownst to me – would continue to support DeFY. New York. It wasn’t until one day in 2013 when I noticed a backlink coming from Gwarizm – Gary’s legendary personal blog that I realized this. I had recently uploaded a bunch of Footlocker in store promotional videos from 1987 and Gary did a quick feature which was cool, but going through the write up I was taken back. In addition to shouting out my site and encouraging everyone to go check it out he wrote:
I was humbled –and still humbled- in a way you could not -and cannot imagine-. Real talk, I was humbled so much that I printed it out and put it in a special folder I keep of accomplishments and acknowledgments; things to keep me on track.
To me, being acknowledged in that way by one of the most respected individuals in this industry -that was in it way before the hype – was an accomplishment to be cherished with the humor in it all that he was just as much an influence on me. He set the bar for writing and research at a near untouchable level for most of us in the footwear and fashion industry. He had within him a unique taste for all things great whether it was music, fashion, footwear, people, whatever. It’s why in 2012 he was listed as one of the top 50 most influential people in sneakers by Complex. The man navigated the industry in humble and humbling fashion and he did it for the genuine love of the “culture” -he wasn’t to keen on the term “sneaker culture-. He was one of few that understood the varying complexity of it all, a bridge between the diehard lifestyle fanatic and the disconnected brand rep. By 2013 he had his own collab shoe with Reebok and it appeared that for 2017 he was continuing the rounds with adidas before his untimely passing which has left many of us trying to understand this. The reality of it all is that life is fragile and when good people are taken young it hurts.
While we are lucky to have Gwarizm -which should be in print- to reflect on for what one can only hope will be generations to come, he has surely left a void that no one will be able to fill.
At this time I would like to send lots prayers out to his family, friends and the whole CT crew. The legacy he has left will indeed be eternal.