Earlier this week we told you about Kanye West’s headline making interview with BBC’s Zane Lowe, including his revelation that Saint Laurent designer Hedi Slimane was the inspiration behind some of the first tracks off his recently released Yeezus album. Because the interview was an hour long and contained more gems per minute (GPM) than any other interview ever, it took us a minute to let the whole hour of DOPENESS sink in. We thought we’d bring you our take on some of the best fashion-related lines from the already infamous interview ...
Regarding Hypebeast.com: “Every time my name goes up, there’s a series of people who write negative comments...’why is he still trying?’ Why are they dissing me for trying??”
Early on in the interview, West talks about how he checks the Hypebeast site to check out new product. And, like anybody else who has ever visited the site, he took notice of the many, many haters who also frequent it also. Hypebeast’s readers have already made their MO known earlier this year with their overwhelmingly negative reaction to learning that Hood By Air designer Shayne Oliver is gay – that is, hate on everything ever with the fury of a virgin shoe collector.
“Me and Virgil [Abloh] are in Rome, giving designs to Fendi, over and over, and getting our designs knocked down … [We] brought the leather jogging pants six years ago to Fendi, and they said ‘no.’ How many motherfuckers you done seen with a leather jogging pant?”
This is the first of numerous emotionally charged riffs on the fashion industry and Yeezy’s desperation to find his place in it. While recounting how he spent his post-Taylor Swift Incident exile, by interning at Fendi, it seems that even then, when we were still hungry for some Balmain moto-jeans, Kanye already had 2013’s biggest fashion trend on deck. Now, how much of Fendi’s (supposed) negative reaction was Kanye being too ahead of his time and how much of it has to due with the fact that men’s leather jogging pants – the most iconic iteration thus far has come from En Noir, a line not remotely similar to Fendi – would be a weird and unnatural fit for Fendi. Sometimes (aka most of the time) Kanye's "passion for fashion" is a bit removed from the reality of high fashion.
“When I see Hedi Slimane, and it’s all like, okay, this is my take on the world. Yeah, he’s got some nice $5,000 jeans in there. It’s some nice ones here and there, some good shit here and there. But we culture. Rap the new rock and roll. We culture. Rap is the new rock and roll. We the rock stars. [Zane Lowe: “It’s been like that now for a minute.”] It’s been like that now for a minute, Hedi Slimane! It’s been like that now for a minute. We the rock stars, and I’m the biggest of all of them.”
This perfect, interview-defining quote immediately followed Kanye’s thoughts on his time at Fendi. Here, Kanye manages to initiate the first-of-its-kind Rapper/Designer beef that we’ve all been waiting for, and also manages to sneak in some (surprisingly clear) views of where our culture is. For decades, rock’n’roll has been the de rigueur music of youth, of counter-culture, of rebellion. And while rap has certainly been around for a while, only recently has it transcended rock music as the primary culture driver that Kanye references here.This is notable for two reasons: 1. During the end of Hedi Slimane’s run at Dior Homme, Kanye was quoted numerous times referring to Slimane as a “god” and, even as recently as 2010, put out a song with Pharrell and Kid Cudias homage to Hedi’s popular Dior Homme skinny jeans. In fact, Kanye referenced Slimane’s design when describing his recent APC collaboration. 2. Someone needed to say it. The aging-rocker schtick never really took off for John Varvatos, and watching Hedi Slimane mine that empty well has been a bit painful to watch (even if Julie doesn't think so).
"You guys don't understand. You guys don't understand that I did the [Air] Yeezys and they eBay'd for $90,000! And people wanted them ... bad as whatever. But I didn't get a call from Nike the next day!”
One of the consistently surprising things about Kanye West interviews is how willing he is to publicly complain about current collaborators and partners. Whether it’s letting people know his distaste for Jay-Z’s work on Suit and Tie, or Nike, the shoe giant who currently manufactures his namesake sneaker. Speaking ill of a past sponsor is nothing new, but to gripe about the company who gave you your start in an interview takes a certain kind of nerve.
“Both this song ['Black Skinhead'] and 'I Am a God' were made after Hedi Slimane didn't let me into his first Saint Laurent show. But it wasn't that. He wanted me to go, but he just told me I couldn't go to any other shows other than that. And I was like, 'Wait a second.' You're not telling no editor they can't go to any of your shows. I'm not your boy. You can't control me in some way. Off of that, I went into the studio with the producers that made the music for his show. And made 'I Am a God' and 'Black Skinhead.”
Kanye v. Hedi II. For all those wondering where Kanye’s angry, minimalist sound came from – look no further. Apparently, after being told that Kanye could attend the first SLP show, but only on the condition that he not attend any others during Paris Fashion Week, he went out and got some v. nxt lvl revenge by stealing his band and, later, by putting out Yeezus, which, in light of this information, makes Hedi Slimane and SLP look about as dated and notatalledgy as the 90’s clothes they’re sending down the runway. Rarely is a high profile beef started and settled in a one hour sitting.
The interview covered plenty of non-fashion related subjects too, ranging from his new family with Kim Kardashian to his musical evolution and what he learned from his parents’ involvement in the civil rights movement. But what can we take away from Kanye The Designer? If nothing else, that he probably isn’t going to drop the dream anytime soon. The common trait found in every quote above is a desperate yearning to be on the inside, but with a passion that can only come from being kept on the outside for too long.