Despite making headlines in recent weeks for a variety of reasons, from giving that epic BBC Radio 1 interview to proposing to his babymama, Kanye West has found yet another avenue in which to find controversy. On the first stop of his Yeezus tour in Seattle earlier this, Kanye unveiled the Yeezus tour merchandise, allegedly designed by the man himself, including original artwork by artist Wes Lang. And after Kanye’s aforementioned interview (in which he claimed to be more influential that Hedi Slimane, to have invented leather jogging pants, and to be a rock star), it’s hard not to find any clothing that comes out of the Kanye camp noteworthy.
So, what did we get from the man who has spent the better part of the last month literally shouting as loud as he could that he was a “product person”? (see again: his greatest interview of all time). We got a handful of weird Metallica homages. There was some confusing confederate flag imagery, as well that I’m confident: 1) was created for the sole purpose of causing controversy and 2) will be the subject of many a fashion blog post - not here though because here at TFL, we couldn’t help but be more intrigued by the riffs on other musicians’ logos. For our readers who missed out on the band’s original artwork, we’ve posted a few samples of some of their early album covers and tour merchandise next to some choice Yeezus shirts. Check them out below and let us know if you think the two designs, including the font - with the first and last letters protruding violently downward, over skeleton imagery - have a lot or a little in common.
Technically, Kanye’s homage to 80’s hair metal iconography steers clear enough of the originals (aka is more inspiration than imitation) that he most likely isn’t in danger of any legal trouble. Which is great for him, as Metallica’s reputation these days is more litigious than rebellious – lest we forget they’ve spent the better part of the 2000’s and onward involved in numerous lawsuits protecting their copyrighted material, most notably against Napster.
What’s more, Kanye recently opened a Yeezus Tour shop in LA, conveniently located next to DASH - for those of you wondering if marrying a reality starlet might affect Kanye’s street cred. Not only that, but Kanye will also release a series of Yeezus Tour t-shirts at mall retailer PacSun in the coming weeks, an extension of the relationship between his DONDA camp and the retailer, which was initiated earlier this year when the two collaborated on a series of exclusive #BEEN #TRILL t-shirts. This is certainly a new approach to market a tour or an album, as tour merchandise is generally sold exclusively at said tour locations. Whether this is actually some next level marketing and we need to cede further control to our DONDA overlords, or Kanye and Co. are just thirsty for that PacSun $$, is up for debate. Not for sale at Kanye's concerts, PacSun or the new popup shop: the Margiela courture masks that Yeezy is still rocking in concert. You'll have to go to Paris for one of those.