Kanye West is on a one-man mission to change the fashion industry – starting with its overinflated sense of elitism. In an interview with T magazine, the “All Day” rapper and adidas designer says he has a dream of kicking down the doors to the industry’s traditionally inaccessible world and letting everybody else in.
“I’m not a celebrity, I’m an activist,” he said. “The fact that when I see truth it’s really hard for me to sit back and just allow it to happen in front of me on my clock makes me, a lot of times, a bad celebrity. Before the internet, music was really expensive,” he explained. “People would use a rack of CDs to show class, to show they had made it. Right now, people use clothes to telegraph that. I want to destroy that. The very thing that supposedly made me special – the jacket that no one could get, the direct communications with the designers – I want to give that to the world.”
This isn’t anything that West hasn’t said before, obviously. After all, Ye’s beef with fashion goes back years and years; at one point in the feature, he even compared his Paris Fashion Week debut in 2009 to a political “sit-in”. His debut appearance at the men’s collections, flanked by a flamboyantly dressed entourage, was parodied on South Park.
It’s clearly a subject that weighs heavily on his mind – in March, he went on a multiple-tweet rant about how he couldn’t go to Central Saint Martins to study fashion because he was too famous. “I dreamed, since I was a little kid, of having my own store where I could curate every shoe, sweatshirt and colour,” he told T. “I have sketches of it. I cried over the idea of having my own store.”
But it seems like West’s quest for fashion acceptance is slowly working its magic. At New York Fashion Week, he met his idol Ralph Lauren for the first time. The all-American designer placed his hand on West’s cheek. “Do you know what he said when he did that?” Kanye said. “‘This is my son.’ And I was thinking, ‘I knew it! I knew Ralph was my daddy!'”
But whatever you think of Kanye West’s unceasing siege of the fashion industry’s walls, you can’t accuse him of not being self-aware. “I have this table in my new house,” he explained. “They put this table in without asking. It was some weird nouveau-riche marble table, and I hated it. But it was literally so heavy that it took a crane to move it. We would try to set up different things around it, but it never really worked.”
“I realised that table was my ego. No matter what you put around it, under it, no matter who photographed it, the douchebaggery would always come through.”