Kanye West was full of fashion-centric quotables this year.
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Aside from the birth of his first child, an epically romantic proposal to girlfriend/baby mama Kim Kardashian, and releasing one of the most critically debated albums of the year, which was then accompanied by a massive, production-heavy national tour, 2013 was kinda quiet for Kanye West, amirite?? I mean, like, we BARELY heard a peep outta the guy! *pauses for effect, then busts up in belly laughs* NAAAHHHHTTTTT. If anything, we've never heard so much of Yeezy. Especially on the topic of fashion.
Ye's year-long commentary on/battle with the fashion industry has kept us busy for the duration of 2013. Between lyrics likening his experience putting together his own line to picking cotton and others that publicly acknowledge Forever 21, Mr. West gave his
2 infinity cents on the subject of style, and we've distilled the stand-outs.
I don't know, it's definitely not based on a body of work. It possibly could just be, like, overall rap-MC-swag, you know what I'm saying? ... They don't like "Givenchy Kanye." They don't like "Kanye in a Kilt." They don't like "Kanye in a Relationship."
Once upon a time, back in the early spring of this year, MTV put together the "Hottest MCs in the Game VIII" list, and Yeezy landed at number seven and was unhappy. (Real talk, any rank that wasn't #1 probably would have set him off, but I digress.) Pretty soon after the announcement, he called up Hot 97's DJ Enuff to share his thoughts and unleashed the above statement. TBH, though, we've always loved Givenchy Kanye, so come hang around us some more.
KANYE WEST: I’m just trying to cut away all the—you know, it’s even like what we talk about with clothing and fashion, that sometimes all that gets in the way. You even see the way I dress now is so super straight.
JON CARAMANICA: Does it take you less time to get dressed now than it did five years ago?
KW: Hell, yeah.
JC: You look at your outfits from five or seven years ago, and it’s like—
KW: Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.
Until this year, Kanye was commonly characterized as elusive of the press. We didn't know it at the time, but this June New York Times interview, which spawned the above quotable was one of the first appearances of Print Kanye, and MAN, was it rife with gems. Reading Yeezy utter "Kill self" in what we assume is a self-deprecating way definitely takes the cake.
ALSO JUNE 16
I sat down with a clothing guy that I won't mention, but hopefully if he reads this article, he knows it's him and knows that out of respect, I didn't mention his name: this guy, he questioned me before I left his office:, "If you've done this, this, and this, why haven't you gone further in fashion?" And I say, "I'm learning." But ultimately, this guy that was talking to me doesn't make Christmas presents, meaning that nobody was asking for his [stuff] as a Christmas present. If you don't make Christmas presents, meaning making something that's so emotionally connected to people, don’t talk to me.
In the same interview, Ye alluded to a rift in his relationship with a fashion designer he was once close with. It was later revealed (by Yeezy himself, of course) that he had the above to say to Hedi Slimane. *tugs at collar* Apparently Saint Laurent is not a Christmas present in Kanye's book, so pay attention Kardashian fam!
Great job, belt loops, for keeping my pants up!
Much like the NYT interview, West's chat with W magazine was stacked with insight into Yeezus and more actual fashion talk, but our favorite, HANDS DOWN, is this quip Ye made at Kim's mom, Kris Jenner, in response to her use of the word great. (You should read the whole thing for the context, but basically, he felt it was an underhanded compliment.) LOLZ.
I brought 10 years of product that has added to humanity. And now, where's the culture at?! So then, I scream, and I'm sitting in the middle of it. Whether I'm at a dinner with Anna Wintour, or I'm at a listening session with Pusha, or me and Virgil 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 m************ you done seen with a jogging pant?
Yeezy's radio-to-video interview with BBC 1's Zane Lowe was really what spawned the MASSIVE influx of Ye-isms toward the end of this year. The multi-part chat aired an hour in total and REALLY went deep on his qualms with the fashion industry and what Ye perceives as an unwillingness to help his style endeavors succeed in the way that he wanted. Most notably, he revealed that leather jogging pants (which are now UBIQUITOUS) were his (and Virgil Abloh's) idea.
You do help me get money, paparazzi. You help me show people how fresh my outfit is, and that helps me influence people.
That interview led to a spoof by Jimmy Kimmel, which led to a Twitter war between the two stars, which then led to a peace-making interview on Kimmel's late-night talk show. West elaborated even more on the seriousness of his concerns with the fashion industry, production, and what it means to be a genius, and there is a LOT of good stuff to be mined from their conversation. The above, though, was Ye's drop-the-mic quip, and it's the BEST.
I want to stop using the term 'fashion' because Eve made Adam bite an apple, and since then, it's been illegal to be naked. I'm helping people follow the law in style. I'm helping people with their opinion of how to follow the law. This isn't about fashion. I'm creating new standards: things so you don't have to think about it. 'Fashion' is too high a skill set. It just needs to be easy, easy as a hoodie and jeans that I'm wearing. I'll do all the hard work. I'll figure out exactly where that collar goes and exactly where that hoodie sits and how many times you can wash that fabric so it looks better five years from now. I'll do the hard work for you. Fashion is forcing people to do all this hard work where you look back two years and say, 'That looked crazy!' There are certain things that are standards. A suit jacket is a suit jacket is a suit jacket. A hoodie is a hoodie is a hoodie. Jeans are jeans are jeans. And a Michael Jordan sneaker is a Michael Jordan sneaker. Now, let's take our kids to the park. It's not about 'fashion;' it's about life and me helping it become more awesome.
Then things really started to snowball. In late October, Ye started hitting unlikely radio stations to spread his message of discontent, including 97.1 AMP in L.A. There are so many things that are good about this quote (which is really just a several-minute monologue), that I'm not even going to taint it with anything else.
He was once a friend of mine, in the time of Christian Dior, and I used to wear his tight-a** jeans when I was on tour and get called names for it. And Hedi Slimane was a god who didn’t serve no bulls***. But it takes a god to recognize another god. So when he told me you can come to my show, but you can’t come to see Phoebe and you can’t come to see Riccardo, that was odd. He tried to control me! He tried to tell me where I could go!
Finally, throughout his Yeezus tour, Kanye dedicated a section of the show to speaking freely on any topic that so moved him at the moment. He hit a lot of cities, so there are a lot of speeches, but this one, which he made in Madison Square Garden just before Thanksgiving, was one of the most emphatic. He calls out Hedi Slimane by name. Likens him to a god (despite the Christmas presents) but cuts him back down in the next breath. Also, he refers to Phoebe Philo and Riccardo Tisci by only their first names, which is just BEYOND, but also, of COURSE he does.