Kanye West's highly anticipated collection for A.P.C. hit the web today. Consisting of hoodies, jeans, printed t-shirts, plain white and dark navy tees and a short-sleeve hooded sweatshirt, the collection is far from epic. This was a bit unexpected because the collection was two years in the making and because Kanye is a self-proclaimed "design genius," the "Steve [Jobs] of fashion, etc. etc. From what I have gathered: 1) not much "designing" actually took place to create the capsule collection, and 2) West has gone the route of the Olsen twins/The Row, in terms of the most talked-about items in the capsule: the t-shirts (the Olsens got their start after a quest to design the perfect t-shirt). West presents expensive, very basic t-shirts, but the quality of the "Hip Hop tees" is likely lower than anything The Row boasts.
As I mentioned above, the collection is surprising. After West showed two heavily criticized womenswear collections in Paris last year (and then threw a fit that they weren't well received), I was almost ready to give West the benefit of the doubt. I really was. But much like my review of his womenswear collections, his work with A.P.C. drives home the point that he does not have a firm grasp of luxury or even accessible luxury fashion. Now it may seem to the contrary, as when I last checked (on Sunday evening), most of the collection was sold out. The t-shirts and sweatshirts appear to be a hit, much more so than the denim, which is almost fully in stock. So, while this may be considered a successful run for West, is it really? Let's be honest, Kanye isn't doing this for the money. He is doing this because he loves fashion so much that it "breaks [his] heart," and he wants to be a respected fashion designer. With that in mind, how many of these shoppers bought the $120 t-shirts because they are amazing shirts and how many bought them because they have Kanye's seal of approval (by way of a red A.P.C. KANYE tag)?
Kanye is undeniable influential when it comes to fashion. He has an enormous following. Hence, the rise of the street goth trend that has eclipsed the streetwear market. I am not denying that he is a bona fide creative and trendsetter. Nor am I denying that he is a very gifted musician. My point is simply that the majority of those shopping Kanye West x A.P.C. are Kanye West fans. They are not fashion critics, not high fashion shoppers, probably not even the average A.P.C. shoppers. Moreover, I highly suspect that if A.P.C. were to sell these items without all of the Kanye West-associated hype, they would not sell out in a day. Such quick sales are not a testament to Kanye West as a talented designer, they are a testament to Kanye West as a famous brand.
I've said it before and I'll say it yet again, just because you have a famous name, does not mean you are qualified to design clothing. But thankfully for everyone who is connected to social media or fashion/music websites in any way, the collection is selling quite well, and thus, we won't have to hear about West ranting (and tweeting stuff like: "this is the maddest I ever will be. I'm typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!") about how his "design genius" is being overlooked or something like that.