Kanye West compares his status as a celebrity designer to Eminem’s as a rapper. “You don’t think ‘white rapper,’” he says. “You just think Eminem.”
Fresh off a week that included the debut of his new fashion line with adidas and the premiere of yet another new song from his upcoming album, Kanye West sat down with Complex and opened up about his progress in the fashion industry, reactions to the show, and being accepted as a designer.
“I do think that it’s been a strong week,” he said. “It’s been a strong past three years. From the messaging leading up to it, to that front row, to the presentation, to the price points we want to hit, to the purpose of getting product to the people. And, you know, having a think tank that’s equal to what a normal fashion house would have, but for the people.”
Comparing his status in design to Eminem’s as a rapper, West went on to reflect on channeling his creativity in fashion in the same way he was able to more than ten years ago with his solo debut album.
“I feel like I’m Eminem, you know?” he said. “You don’t think ‘white rapper.’ You just think Eminem. You don’t think celebrity designer, straight designer, black designer, all these types of things that kind of held me back conceptually in being accepted as a designer. You just think of those words. But when those moon boots come out, you put them on your feet and just swag out and go somewhere with your friends, those words don’t matter.
“I’m just happy that I was able to apply the mentality and passion that brought the College Dropout into existence,” he added. “Now, I may finally have enough of a point of view and understanding to apply and create. Enough of a vision to make. There’s so many far more talented designers but I just have a perspective and a heart. And I’m gonna give all the heart and perspective that I can.”
Tracking his progress from “single bachelor rapper” to his current place in life, West went on to reference his mother’s teachings about being a creative.
“When I was a single bachelor rapper, and with the access that I had, I realized that I wasn’t respecting women the way I needed to,” he said. “God has an amazing way of teaching people, and literally for two years I lived with all alpha females and a daughter, you know? [Laughs] So I had to learn to really do what my mother taught me, and become the man she always knew I could be, and bow as a creative. You know those photos that you see with me getting on my knees in front of the paparazzi to fix Kim’s pant leg? That’s what I want to do for the world. I want to get on my knees and fix everyone’s pant leg, if they’ll have me. If they’ll have me make that adjustment. I want to look at a festival and see what all the kids are wearing, and then say, ‘Hey I want them to feel like they’re wearing the exact same thing, but somehow just a more informed version.’”
Returning to his Adidas launch event, West said, “I just felt that my life was dependent on the success of this show. I set myself up to win or fail. To win or fail. And people were just waiting. ‘Is he gonna do it?’
“It was almost like the Super Bowl of culture in a way,” he continued. “It was like a David Blaine move in some ways. Are the sharks gonna eat me alive? It was, ‘Will he be eaten by the shark tank, or will he survive? Can he hold his breath for this long?’ The three on the back of the Tyvek jacket invites was about the three years that I had been off the runway. And I had to hold my breath for that long.”
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