On February 11th at 4:00 PM, Kanye West revealed his newest collection alongside his new album, Life of Pablo. The collection added some color to the earthy palette seen in Yeezy Season 1 and 2, and added some new silhouettes to his already stacked Adidas footwear collaboration.
The collection was set to the background of a Vanessa Beecroft’s visual presentation, based off a famous picture of the Rwandan Genocide, in which the 1,500 extras were poised as Hutu refugees cornered by the Tutsis in Kibeho camp.
The first reaction to this collection is that it is a clear reputation of Kanye’s vision of the world, a world in which color is blurred together and there is no such thing as race. Kanye has continued to be the only Fashion Week designer to use people of uncharacteristic beauty to star in his shows, straying away from the whitewashing and absurdly skinny runways of other designers.
Kanye has been able to establish a new form of fashion that stands on its own. The demand for his pieces has always been high, but his ability to create such a high demand specifically for his shoes in recent months have extended past the normal consumer, the “sneakerhead,” and into pop culture. Culture is now shifting from vineyard Vines and Urban Outfitters, to specifically Yeezy. This shift in consumer culture has never been seen before on such a scale, and its because of his restriction on release numbers. Creating such low numbers allows for a new kind of exclusivity, and exclusivity is the key to consumerism. This funnel has everyone from white girls to Wall Street day-traders eating out of his hands.
Kanye is doing something never before seen in american culture, he is shifting the market of american style, not just that of a specific group. It’s now only a matter of time until Kanye has shifted the market to such a degree that everyone will be wearing Yeezy head to toe. This is not aimed at one specific age group, this is not a culture movement based on income, race, or gender. This shift is within the whole market.
My theory: Kanye will pursue a contract with the likes of LVMH, or the highest bidder, in order to increase his production and lower his transaction costs so he can put out more clothes and shoes for a lower price. This shift will move slowly until everything is accessible, but the exclusivity of each piece will remain. This shift will allow for consumers to buy what they want but feel like they are the only ones buying each piece. He will have created the greatest illusion in consumer history.