Before Yeezy and Yeezy, Season 2, Kanye West was a struggling voice in the fashion world. He was constantly giving interviews about how he was snobbishly barred from participating in fashion shows and, as is the Kanye way, he overcame everyone’s shit talking to become king of the game.
He’s truly come a long way. Like, a really long way. He interned and learned about the fashion biz in 2008 and created and lost a label called Pastelle in the mid-aughts. He frequently let’s his taste be known too and is known for being a trendsetter. But Kanye “Fashion” West hasn’t always had it this easy: in 2011—not even five years ago—he debuted his first high end runway show in Paris and it was a fucking disaster.
Cathryn Horn urged for tailoring. The Telegraph told him to stick to his day job. Style.com (Vogue, rather.) harped on its heaviness. Anna Wintour, who now giddily sits front row at Yeezy next to former nemesis Kim Kardashian, simply shrugged in response to the show, directing questioners to someone else. No one was kind.
Why? His creations were bulky. They were too obsessed with star models rather than things that fit well. The clothing literally fell off the body. It was all too short and too big. There was no cohesion. It was overworked mummified mistakes. Everything looked like it was being dragged down, which the accessorizing and styling reinforced.
It was no good. While you may think this entry was bad enough, he followed it up with an overworked fur-and-leather sequel. There were good ideas in both shows but there was no editor. At this point Kanye was fighting to be heard to the point that he probably didn’t stop to take anyone’s advice, flying straight into a creative fire while blind and deaf but not mute. The shows failed because they didn’t seem to have any style. They were too fanboy and in no way unique because they were heavy with intellectual baggage, like that of a too excited student who puts too much information in his end of the year thesis. There was no room to breathe.
This is probably why Yeezy with Adidas has been a resounding success: he finally did something. Unlike his (great) pairing with A.P.C., his work with Adidas has been more future gazing weirdo Kanye instead of “These are my weekend clothes!” Kanye or “I’M TRYIMG SO HARD!! JSUT LISTEN TO MEEE!!!1!!” Kanye. The balance was found in going more minimalist and, truly, harnessing the power of the Kardashians and thus universal accolades and attention. Sure, Yeezy, Season 2, is Yeezy, Season 1, but in sand shades—but he’s trying and he has found an aesthetic.
Kayne has come a long way. His recent fashion successes are a firm reminder that behind every great outfit were about fifteen very public and very failed years and attempts to get it right. Try, try again—and make a lot of noise while doing it.