As a fashion icon, Kanye West is an enigma. Is he being embraced by the fashion world or mocked by it? Is he really interested in high fashion or merely along for the runway shows and name-dropping? And about his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian -- what does he really think about what she wears?
West's epic new New York Times interview attempts to clarify some of those questions... and mostly fails, seeing as Kanye is one of the most inscrutable figures in pop culture today. But Kanye did attempt to explain once and for all why he's passionate about fashion:
But there’s vanity in fashion. You make clothes, but some people think it’s a vanity project, that you don’t take it seriously.
But the passion is for humanity. The passion is for people. The passion is for the 18-year-old version of myself. The passion is for the kids at my shows. I need to do more. I need to be able to give people more of what they want that currently is behind a glass. I don’t believe that it’s luxury to go into a store and not be able to afford something. I believe luxury is to be able to go into a store and be able to afford something.
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.
To be fair, the idea of making clothing that elicits emotions is a respectable endeavor and a savvy business move. But Christmas gifts? We doubt we'll be seeing Kanye's $6,000 high heels under the tree anytime soon. Plus, is that the sort of metaphor that will impress the fashion critics?
But that clearly doesn't matter to Kanye, who is his own worst critic. When asked by the Times what he thought about his own clothes, he didn't mince words:
Does it take you less time to get dressed now than it did five years ago?
You look at your outfits from five or seven years ago, and it’s like —
Yeah, kill self. That’s all I have to say. Kill self.
Thankfully, he wasn't so harsh on his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian:
On "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," there’s a really affectionate scene where you go and help Kim sort through her clothes.
That was from a place of love. It’s hard when people read things in a lot of different ways. You know, the amount of backlash I got from it is when I decided to not be on the show anymore. And it’s not that I have an issue with the show; I just have an issue with the amount of backlash that I get. Because I just see like, an amazing person that I’m in love with that I want to help.
Aww. We may not understand a single thing about Kanye when it comes to fashion, but it does seem clear that he loves Kim. Maybe he should stick to his job as "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" guest-star and stop confusing us with all this fashion business.
Read the whole interview at NYTimes.com -- you won't regret it.
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