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Remembering when Kanye West didn't just dress in black

Rembrance of the last pre-Yeezy Kanye

Remembering when Kanye West didn't just dress in black Rembrance of the last pre-Yeezy Kanye

«I want to be the best-dressed rapper in the game» is a pretentious and complicated sounding sentence to say when you haven't released a single album yet and are only known for producing songs. A phrase that, if you think about it, lends itself very well to the pretentious and complicated character of Kanye West. In the second episode of jeen yuhs, Ye makes his ambitions clear with a veritable manifesto of determination and obstinacy, two qualities that have always distinguished him throughout his career - and life. The link with fashion blossomed slowly, following a more tortuous path than Kanye evidently expected. Ten long years have passed from his desire to be the best-dressed rapper to the possibility of making it into fashion, a period in which Kanye West tried everything to enter an elite system like that of fashion, which instead insisted on keeping him at a safe distance. Thus Ye began his act of rebellion

When the rapper, between 2012 and 2014, began to show himself in public more and more often with knockout outfits that manifested how much stronger he was than the fashion system, it was evident that a feeling of protest had manifested itself in him. This had also emerged from his rants on radio programs, in which, unabashedly, he reminded everyone how much he counted in pop culture, shooting at zero without worrying about the consequences. «Look at Gaga: she's the creative director of Polaroid. I like some of the Gaga songs, what the fuck does she know about cameras?» Sound familiar?

On the other hand, his influence on the public's taste can still be seen today, so much so that he was able to make immortal outfits that still today, years later, seem incredibly current. Matching a Saint Laurent biker jacket with a hoodie or a fur coat with Timberland is no longer groundbreaking, and the credit for all this goes to Kanye West, who first shook the foundations of fashion and streetwear by giving free rein to his imagination.

Kanye was the first to pick up the tie-dye trend well before it came back into fashion a few years ago. He was the only one to pierce the screens with the sartorial suit and Air Jordan 1 Banned combo, and probably also the first rapper of the modern era to dress brands never approached by ordinary rappers, such as Haider Ackermann, Bottega Veneta or Rick Owens. His revolt against fashion served to make it clear that even without designing clothes, Kanye West was trending more than the designers themselves. During the Watch The Throne Tour he performed several times with a Givenchy leather kilt, commissioned by Riccardo Tisci, probably the very first designer able to bring fashion and rap closer together. When asked why he wore that skirt, Kanye replied that there was no longer a gender barrier in his way of understanding fashion: «Why shouldn't I wear a kilt? In the past soldiers used to wear skirts and they used to kill people wearing skirts,» Ye added.

In fashion as in music, Ye has always molded the collective taste with the personal one, reinventing, daring, assuming the status of influencers before they came. When last summer he started to be photographed dressed Balenciaga and with his face covered by a mask, it took a short time before "clones" popped up on social networks, armed with Balenciaga Crocs boots and Yeezy Gap jacket, mimicking the outfits of Ye's latest public outings. Kanye's relationship with masks actually has much deeper roots and dates back to 2014, with the Yeezy tour and the contribution of Margiela. Just 2014 was an important year in the life of Kanye West, who after years of waiting got the opportunity he had been waiting for a long time, starting a collaboration with adidas - the signing on the deal there was at the end of 2013 - that would guarantee him all the benefits he needed, as well as the opportunity to design his own clothing line, the first of many, released then in 2015. It seemed natural that it would happen, yet it didn't, because, as mentioned before, it almost seemed that fashion feared Kanye West's boundless creativity.

That's also why Kanye West's path to the fashion world has seen him go from internships at Fendi and collaborations with Nike and Louis Vuitton, to timid attempts to land in the business with his first brand, Pastelle, before his "DW by Kanye West" collection dated 2011, much criticized by insiders, and his collaboration with A.P.C. in 2013. The deal with adidas, in hindsight, turned out to be anything but a definitive milestone for Ye. In fact, Kanye is currently in a collaborative relationship with GAP, and even his connection with Balenciaga is not trivial in its being. Thinking that one day Ye could be appointed creative director of a fashion house is no longer utopia as it would have been ten years ago, and this shows us once again how Kanye's hands can get everywhere, his influence change areas that we did not even imagine could be touched by Yeezy. Define Kanye West only a rapper is now reductive for quite some time, at least since 2014.