Fashion Designer or Rapper? Kanye West Picks Both at NYFW


Now that Kanye West has presented his latest collection, Yeezy: Season 1, at New York Fashion week it won’t be long before he has another “Imma let you finish” moment and proclaims himself to be the greatest fashion designer of all time,

A star-studded front row filled with the likes of Anna Wintour, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Diddy, Rhianna, Russel Simmons and of course his reality star wife and muse Kim Kardashian.

West didn’t let his bevy of celebrity pals or his bored to tears toddler hurry his creative process along by any means. He is a “creative genius” after all and creativity knows no bounds!

After waiting for West’s show to start for an hour, the lights dimmed and his voice echoed across the room with a prerecorded monologue. His recording, said, “I’m here to crack the pavement and make new grounds sonically and in society, culturally…I want people to think more, I want people to feel like it’s ok to create and follow what their dreams are and not feel boxed in. I want people to feel like awesome is possible.”

As if fashion insiders weren’t already annoyed by the long wait to get things started, his insinuation that awesome has yet to happen in the industry until his arrival put many over their Yeezy limit.

Fashion critic, Robin Givhan told the Daily Beast, “His obnoxiousness is tolerated in music because he’s extraordinarily talented and he’s proven that…But to come into another [field] where he is still so clearly at the beginning of a learning curve, and to display that same level of cockiness, who wouldn’t be put off by that?”

Givhan did have a bit of positive feedback for West after she was able to stop rolling her eyes at his ego and the models finally made their way down the catwalk. She felt it was his “best effort [in fashion] so far. It had a point of view. It looked like a cohesive collection, instead of just a group of random ideas.”

During his latest venture into the fashion world, West unveiled his new collaboration with Adidas. His show featured bored looking models in awkward looking nude body stockings in an attempt to allow his pieces a chance to stand out. The line is largely sportswear inspired accompanied by pretty uninspired, yet expensive footwear.

From the videos and images circulating the internet it looks like much of the collection is monotone with pieces in black, tan, gray, green, white and of course camo. The overall consensus of West’s line is equally as lackluster. Not good. Not bad. Just mediocre at best, which may be a tough pill for the self-proclaimed “Robin Hood” of fashion.

Lauren Inuvik, editor in chief of Fashionista, said “[The clothes] were urban, cool, athletic – but in their drab colors and conventional shapes (sweatshirts, parkas, drop-waist pants, cargo vests), indistinctive and unremarkable.

REDEF’s fashion editor, Adam Wray, quickly noted that the line seemed to rely a bit too much on the designs from other fashion heavyweights like Haider Ackerman and Rick Owens. Wray told the Daily Beast, “Of course, I think that in the fashion world, as in music, it’s totally ok to be inspired and steal from other creatives. That’s kind of how new stuff happens. [But] I saw more of what he’s interested in and not so much of his own voice or energy coming through.

Wray did have some positive words for West. He said, “I do think he is one of the most important, creative, cultural people living today. He brings something to the industry that nobody else was in terms of getting people talking, generating discussion.”

He is certainly aiming high with his Adidas collaboration. In his interview with Style magazine, West said “I just want to propose a solution to problems that me and my wife and my friends face. I sit with a group of problem solvers and say, ‘In this situation, I would like to have this.’ And then from my art background – from my heart background – I have a perspective on color that I’ve always wanted to get across.”

Not even a lack of an actual fashion design education nor the snubs he received from the fashion world along the way can hamper West’s bravado as he made his own “school” of sorts in his mother-in-law’s house. He told Style, “I was able to go to school, where every day I was in my mom’s [Kris Jenner] house, in my little brother’s old room, Rob’s old room, re-tailoring a Celine skirt, re-tailoring a Saint Laurent Jacket, re-tailoring a Zara top, re-tailoring Wolford…And day by day by day, [Kim and I] learned, we got better. We looked at the photographs together and she improved my style, we improved each other.”

However, West isn’t a complete stranger to fashion design school as he did spend some time in a classroom in 2014, but not as a student. He served as a special instructor at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College to fulfill part of his court mandated 250 hours of community service that stemmed from an altercation with a pesky paparazzo.

The school is well-known for its fashion design courses and served as an interesting platform for West to display his apparent passion and even let loose a rant or two. Come on, he’s Yezus and when an opportunity to rant presents itself he takes it!

He spoke to students about his experience in the fashion industry since the inception of his label in 2012, which was followed by a critically panned showing in Paris.

It was reported that he wanted the fashion students to a midterm that “would be a haiku about the intersection of fashion and creativity, written in the medium of your choice on a textile whose identity can be gleaned from a riddle.”

Professor Yeezus took things up a notch with his final exam expectations. “For your final exam, you’d have to design an entire tour wardrobe, complete with video tie-ins and a merchandising plan that includes costs for only locally-sourced fabrics and labour,” he requested.

When asked what West taught the class, one student said “He didn’t teach us specifically anything. He spoke about, you know, life in general and about his inspirations and whatnot.”

Only time will tell if he will head back to the school to complete his community service and impart some more words of wisdom for those listening.

Fashion insiders and media outlets buzz about Kanye as fifteen fashion design students from the School of Fashion at the Academy of Art University worked tirelessly to get their collections ready for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center.

The hard work of these students is going largely unnoticed by the mainstream media as much focus is put upon West, his all-star audience and whether or not baby North was crying over her pint sized bulletproof vest or if Anna Wintour pinched her.

So, we’d like to give an Kanye-free nod to the hard work of the design students who took part in the Academy of Art University’s 10th year of displayed support for their talented students. Be sure to check out the great work of these fifteen budding fashion designers:

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