12/27/2010 06:15 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Cassius Clay, Kanye West's 19-Year-Old Stylist, Speaks

Opening Ceremony's Sofia Cavallo caught up with Kanye West's stylist Cassius Clay -- a 19-year-old sophomore at Yale. How'd he get the gig? And is he responsible for Mr. West's new suits-only dress code? Or Kanye's musings on Lindsay Lohan's fashion line? (Probably not.) Cavallo writes:

It was just another day of scouring the racks at Barneys for....Clay, when someone tapped him on the shoulder and complimented him for the way he was dressed. The man was Kanye West, and after a short conversation and an exchange of e-mail addresses, an unlikely relationship developed between the rapper and the cerebral Art History major. Within weeks, the self-described "babe of the woods" of southern New Hampshire who grew up and went to school near Boston had taken a leave of absence from his alma mater to become the rapper's personal stylist and creative consultant.

And how did his parents react to all of this? Clay said:

My father is in his 80's and my mother in her 60's so they're not exactly Kanye's typical listening demographic. Still, they could appreciate opportunity and were very supportive of a productive pause in my track at Yale. My mother made a Twitter account to follow Kanye (not me) and I've found both Graduation and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in my father's car.

Sounds kind of adorable. Speaking of, what was Clay wearing at age 10?

My school had a dress code of khakis with collared shirts for the younger boys. Dissatisfied with the informality of khakis, I adopted a personal uniform of exclusively white turtlenecks, grey flannel trousers, and black & white spectator shoes. I look back on it now as a dedicated engagement with minimalism (and self-caricature). Occasionally on weekends at home I would pretend to be a pharaoh with amulet and scepter.

And as for the thing everybody should try? "Taking one's jeans to a tailor."

Read the rest at Opening Ceremony. Or check out Kanye's deepest thoughts on fashion here.