Kanye West who was named as Time magazine’s “Most Influential People” took to the stage at the star-studded Time 100 gala on Tuesday. Yeezy rocked his performance if social media is to be believed, but while many people saw Kanye, the singer, they probably missed the video of him talking about his fashion and why he calls himself the ‘Robin Hood of Fashion’ which came out last week. In an exclusive interview with Time, the singer described his experience and approach towards fashion.
West called himself ‘Robin Hood’ post his New York Fashion Week show, in February, this year. In the video, he clarifies his statement by saying that he wants to design and connect with the masses, much like the outlaw of Sherwood. He said that high fashion designers worked in a luxurious context, whereas he wants to make his designs accessible to all. He applauds the efforts of Zara and H & M in realizing how elitist fashion was being, by not catering to the common people. He also talks about how designing is a little different from music as he bore a responsibility to everyone who bought his clothes. While in music multiple people’s jobs are dependent on his album doing well. “It’s a real proposition to humanity to make something physical,” adds West.
West has always been passionate about fashion and over the years has established himself as a fashionisto and style icon. His first attempt at designing was back in 2007 when he collaborated with footwear brand Bape on the Bapesta sneakers. Since then, the Grammy award-winning singer has been active in the scene. His influence in the world of fashion was seen in the popularity of shutter shades – the Venetian-blind sunglasses – which he wore in a video for his song Stronger. His first official foray into clothing came with Pastelle, his clothing line which was first announced in 2007. He also went and did an internship at Fendi to educate himself. During the initial release of the Adidas Yeezy 750 Boost sneakers in February, 9000 pairs were sold off within 10 minutes. The 37-year-old rapper is also known for styling his wife, Kim Kardashian and doing a complete makeover.
Yeezy’s love for fashion has not translated well on the ramp. While the missed Time video does show the Adidas New York Fashion Week collection it does not mention the criticism West receive from many people. His designs were called uninspired and Robin Givhan. The Washington Post’s fashion critic, called out West on his cockiness in The Daily Beast story. Givan said that West had a proven track record in music and that is the reason his obnoxiousness is tolerated there, but he is still new to fashion. “… And to display that same level of cockiness, who wouldn’t be put off by that?” Givhan added. While West’s sentiments about fashion were appreciated by many, he was also pulled up for his hypocrisy. His design for the masses are not exactly pocket friendly with a military jacket priced at $1200 a piece.
In a story published in Paper Magazine’s April issues, West spoke out against his detractors and talked about the obstacles he faced when he was trying to break into the fashion industry. The outspoken musician and designer, said that he found it funny to be famous in one form of art, but have people boxing him out of another. While he dissed public approval and said that nobody could stop him from doing something he loved, he also mentioned being hurt by a Highsnobiety article which discussed the pros and cons of West’s presence in the industry. On reading the article titled Should Kanye West Leave Fashion to the Professionals, West said, “… It hurt me as a human being to see that article written, with the amount of work that’s there and the potential and what I know I will eventually do.”
People who have not seen the video also missed out on West’s thoughts about his future in the fashion industry. He has no plans to give up and is in-fact quite positive about his position. His determination can be seen when he explains the feeling he gets from touching a piece of fabric for the first time and compares it to the high one gets in their first year of college added to the high from the last year of high school.
Photo by rodrigoferrari – Flickr License