In a remarkable interview with US GQ, the rapper claims to be personally responsible for the bulk of footwear sales at Balenciaga. What else should fashion thank Kanye for?
This month’s extraordinary US GQ interview with Kanye West is quite a treat, outlining the rapper’s fight for celebrities’ civil rights, explaining why he customised the bar at his wedding (“I was having issues with this wedding planner the entire time on approvals,” he fumes) and issuing the ultimate compliment to former French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld: “She is the Kanye West of what Tumblr is today.”
West also makes a bold claim about footwear sales at 100-year-old couture house Balenciaga: “Listen to what I'm saying. Me, as Kanye West: I guarantee you, I'm more than 50% responsible for every men's shoe that they sell,” he says. And in case you missed it: “Me, the singular person. More than 50% responsible for every Balenciaga shoe they sell ... I have a level of influence, and I have a level of respect for the designers. And we move product on that Barneys floor.”
This is far from the first time that outlandish claims have been made about West’s fashion footprint. But what else should fashion thank Kanye for?
1) The invention of leather jogging bottoms
In another remarkable interview from 2013, West told the BBC that he pitched designs for leather jogging bottoms to Fendi six years previously but had been “knocked down.” But in 2013, he asked: “How many motherfuckers you done seen with a leather jogging pant?” On this occasion, Kanye, we're not convinced. MC Hammer got there long before you.
2) Men wearing womenswear
When Jared Leto was photographed wearing Chanel womenswear earlier this month, it didn’t take long to remember who did it first: West, who sported a silk blouse by Celine on stage at Coachella festival in 2011 and again in 2012. Truly, he was the begetter of the trend.
3) The boom of the fashion rucksack
Long before Hershel even existed – and preceding Chanel’s couture knapsacks by years – Kanye was wearing monogrammed Goyard and custom Louis Vuitton backpacks. He even sent backpacks down the catwalk in his own critically mauled Paris Fashion Week show, in 2011. On reflection, that car-seat clasp is very next-season Christopher Kane, while a furry accessory feels incredibly autumn winter Celine. Ahead of his time, indeed.
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