In his Sunday Best, It’s Kanye West
Kanye West doesn’t see himself as a rapper but as an artist or a simply a creative person. If one thing occupies his creative mind more than his music, it’s his fashion. From the very beginning, his style and image has been carefully cultivated and right now, it’s more important than ever. For this late Sunday post, we focus on Kanye West’s style and how he has fused his music and his fashion.
On his first album The College Dropout, he gave him self the moniker ‘The Louis Vuitton Don’ aided by wearing his Louis Vuitton backpack, almost a reference to the ‘backpacker’, slightly nerdy rap that he could have been categorised under. But without knowing it, he was destined to have much broader appeal than a simple underground rapper/producer. And the Louis Vuitton backpacks have been a staple accessory for Kanye West for his entire high profile career.
After the album Graduation he created one of fashions biggest non-trends with the shutter shades. Youngsters were going crazy for them however, apart from rave goers who were probably way under the influence to see clearly; they are one of the most impractical fashion trends ever. Definitely one for performers only….and certainly a short lived trend, but worth mentioning all the same.
He took a totally different direction both musically and style-wise for the album 808’s & Heartbreak. As his music veered into the more experimental category, his style went the same way, crossed between an eighties look combined with old English heritage tweed. To finish his look, he groomed himself with a new school cool panache.
Kanye West is unlike many artists from the hip hop genre in the sense that his love for fashion appears to be deep and genuine. He is rumoured to have interned at one or more high class fashion houses in Paris and London. He has started his own label DW, named after his late mother, Donda West. But this is high fashion, run way fashion. It’s for the serious fashion connoisseur and unlike many rappers clothing label, it focuses on women’s wear like most of the big fashion houses do.
Outside of fashion, Kanye seems to be quite a regular guy. And that was what sparked the initial appeal in him as a person. He cares about his clothes and how he looks, but he just wanted to dress like an every day guy who likes his style. Like Kid Cudi, in doing this, he ignored the generic hip hop look and helped lead a path which many rappers now follow. His general look is varied, he can certainly wear ‘urban clothing’ but if he wears a white tee, it will fit! When he wears jeans, they will be in his size! But both for his style and his music, amongst his ostentatious peers, it’s his ability to appear ‘normal’ which made him stand out. At least initially!
How do you feel about Kanye West and the way he has joined up the fashion world and the hip hop world? Will you be keeping an eye on DW?
Fifth photograph by Francois Mori/AP