The nationwide tour for the Champion Craft Series touched down in Chicago last Thursday night. Dozens of locals traversed in the snow to make it out to the event at Notre, where Benjamin Edgar Gott presented his Champion Reverse Weave collaboration to the public.

Benjamin Edgar is a multimedia designer that has been in the game for over a decade, making a name for himself alongside contemporaries such as Chuck Anderson (aka NoPattern) and the late Virgil Abloh. This trio would regularly share their ideas and opinions on The Brilliance!, a cultural blog founded by Benjamin and Chuck in 2005 that featured random musings on everything from the latest in music and fashion to the more mundane and ordinary.

A fascination with the mundane and ordinary is what led Benjamin Edgar to create Benjamin Edgar Object Company (BEOC) in 2009. “Objects” released by Benjamin Edgar’s industrial design company include clothes hangers, incense bowls, candles, stainless steel coffee cups, and, of course, apparel.

Benjamin Edgar’s collaboration with Champion is a continuation of the legacy that Champion has in the streetwear startup and DIY clothing communities. Early pieces from Virgil Abloh’s Pyrex label, for example, were printed on Champion blanks. “Champion was like this canvas for all of us who wanted to make stuff but couldn’t afford to do cut and sew, couldn’t afford to build our collections, couldn’t afford the minimums,” says Benjamin Edgar. “I have an obsession with classic items, permanent feeling things. It could be the classic George Nelson Bench, Carmex lip balm, the Porsche 911, Bic pens, etc. Champion is that for the American sportswear world, and beyond, at this point.”

Benjamin Edgar’s Champion Reverse Weave Sweatshirt project is titled “12345, ALL THE WAY THROUGH.” Offered in grey and blue colorways, the sweatshirt features vinyl that reads “12345” across the chest and is mirrored on the back. BEOC introduced this “12345” motif in 2021 as an homage to the works of artist Jasper Johns, paintings of incredibly familiar things or “things the mind already knows.”

According to Benjamin Edgar, his Object Company is about abstraction. “When you see someone with a collegiate shirt on, maybe it says ‘Harvard’ or whatever it is … it symbolizes so much of maybe your socioeconomic condition, how much money you might have, where you’ve been, all these different things,” says Benjamin Edgar. “I don’t have really any of those, besides being born in East Hazel Crest and growing up in Park Forest. So for me, the idea was like ‘let’s put 12345,’ which is a hyper abstraction, it means nothing, but it prompts so many questions.”

The “All The Way Through” methodology adds another layer of abstraction. “The ‘All The Way Through’ thing is about the lack of veneer, literally or figuratively. If you scratch the surface of a great design or a great concept, you shouldn’t find ‘fool’s gold’ underneath.”  This concept was visualized by adding perforations to the 12345 design, each hole punched out individually. The end result is a highly conceptual garment, where the person’s body or whatever it is they’re wearing underneath is showing through those holes.

To further visualize this concept, one of the crewnecks on display at the event had archery arrows placed inside some of the holes. This creates a short “visual poem,” bringing to the life the idea that “great design should be felt both visually, emotionally, and beyond. It should go all the way through you.”

The crewnecks were available for free via raffle during the Notre event, with a limited amount of pieces released on the NTWRK app a few days before, priced at $0.01. As Benjamin Edgar explains, “the idea of making them free, or 1 cent in this case, was powered by this idea that: if you planned on spending $75-100 on this crewneck from my brand or any other brand… take that cash, buy a blank garment, find a screenprinter, and start your first idea. Make your first paintbrush stroke in a sense. I do really hope people do that…”

Check out photos from the Benjamin Edgar x Champion Craft Series event at Notre below. You can learn more about Benjamin Edgar on his website, as well as on his Instagram and Twitter.

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