Kanye rose to fame through the music and hip-hop scene, but being a creative, he didn't just stop there. Next to the mark he left on hip-hop, he simultaneously left a blazing trial through the fashion industry. Back in 2004 a young Kanye West released his debut album “The College Dropout” which changed the face of hip-hop and flipped the gangster rap style on its head with his use of auto-tune. Not only did his music sound different, but he even looked and dressed different. The rap scene had long been associated with baggy jeans and long XXL t-shirts, but Kanye would wear bright coloured polo tops and jumpers for his signature look.
His gamble on looking and sounding different had paid off, with his name firmly perched at the top of pop media he would use his influence to push a number of different trends world wide. Fast forward a couple albums in 2007 when Ye released Graduation, he also debuted a pair of Shutter Shades in the music video for Stronger. Yeah you know the ones, and if you wanted to look cool at any event you knew you needed a pair of these. The Shutter Shades weren't practical in any way and have since fallen from grace, but in their prime, you could find them in every corner store around the globe.
Mr. West always had a fascination with sneakers, in his early days he did a few collaborations with streetwear brand A Bathing Ape. But where it really took off for him and his Yeezy brand was when he teamed up with Nike Creative Director Mark Smith to develop the first Nike Air Yeezy which he debuted at the 2008 Grammy awards. This was the first time Nike gave a non-athlete a signature sneaker collaboration. The sneaker was officially released in 2009 and sold out within 3 seconds.
As the years rolled on, Kanye would release a number of sneaker collaborations. One of the most noticeable trends that he set was wearing all red sneakers, which many still rock today whether dressing up or even just taking a trip to the store. Its a seriously cool look. This all started with Ye’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton when he released the “Don” in 2009. He took it to stratospheric levels as his final collaboration with Nike and the second instalment of the Nike Air Yeezy 2, the “Red October”.
Although the Red Octobers would be the last of the Yeezy collaboration with Nike, Kanye soon announced a deal to move in with Adidas and continue the Yeezy line in 2015. Once settled into his new home the brand would explode and Yeezy would become a household name for every hypebeast under the sun. Kanye promised to make his collection more affordable and widely available, as a result he has produced a clothing line as well as many different sneakers starting with the Yeezy boost 750. His latest addition being the Yeezy 500 “Supermoon” in which he created the image campaign that took over social media, featuring many notable influencers and not many clothes. The campaign caused controversy and mixed opinions, but if you haven’t noticed by now… thats just how he likes it.
Whether or not you agree with his methods or opinions, the man has had a real impact on fashion over the last decade and has showed no sign of slowing down. He has collaborated with many brands and individuals, even helping to unlock the potential of some of his peers such as Virgil Abloh who was recently appointed as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection. He stated that the goal of his creative collective, DONDA, is to “Make products and experiences that people want and can afford”, and though nobody has ever been able to tell what is going on inside his head, it will be exciting to see what he comes up with next