For weeks following his debut collection with Adidas, Kanye West has been labeling himself the "Robin Hood of Fashion." For those unfamiliar (which, like... who are you, TBH?), the story says that Robin Hood was a kind of vigilante who stole from the corrupt rich to give back to the poor. For a long time, that seemed to be understood as stealing a practice and approach to design typically reserved for the elite luxury fashion community and using it for clothing intended for mass consumption. Now, thanks to an interview conducted for his feature on this year's Time 100 Most Influential People list, Kanye elaborates on this self-given monicker.
"When I say I'm Robin Hood of fashion," Ye explains, "what I'm saying is: Currently, the most amazing designers get very few opportunities to connect with the masses. The most amazing designers have been programmed to design inside of a luxury context. It's a simple equation. It's an E=MC2; it's like, 'Duh! Just go get dope motherf---ers to do stuff for mass!'" So, it's not just the approach to design that Kanye is stealing from high fashion, it's also the
dope motherf---ers designers themselves.
Kanye's aim isn't just to deliver a higher quality product to the majority of people, he wants to make the prospect of designing for the everyday person something that the best designers want to aspire to. "I really respect what Zara and H&M did," Kanye continues, "because people used to look down on the mass and say that the mass didn't have good taste. And H&M and Zara raised their hands and said, 'I think they do, I just don't think they have opportunities.'"
It's an attitude not often seen in the fashion industry, but for Kanye, it appears the trailblazing is what makes it so exciting. However, as with most things he sets out to do, Ye isn't content with just forging the path, he wants to perfect it. It's not just breaking new ground, Kanye wants to pave it, too. Maybe in sapphire crystal and 316L stainless steel. Kanye's admiration for the Apple mindhive, Steve Jobs, and Jony Ive in particular has never been a secret, and it's clear he's using the tech company as a model for success. "In that current mass world, as far as clothing goes, there isn't a perspective that is as strong as Jony Ive's," Ye adds, "and humbly or assertively or however you want to word it, I'm going to do that."
Five, ten years from now, will we all look back on doubtful comments about Kanye's Adidas collection in the same way we do with the iPod and iPhone? Only time will tell.