“To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to give a reality to one’s dreams,” the French fashion designer Roger Vivier once said, or in the words of Kanye West:“Reebok, baby, you need to try some new things, have you ever had shoes without shoe strings?”
Such is the presumed thinking of scores of West fans, who have flocked to east London to queue for hours in the hope of getting their hands on limited edition merchandise from the musician’s first pop-up store in the UK.
West announced on Wednesday that 21 shops would open in various locations around the world to sell products tied to his latest album, The Life of Pablo. The venues were announced 24 hours before they opened in each city, with the British pop-up located in Old Street.
Against a backdrop of rain and grey skies, the fan at the front of the queue, 19-year-old Carlos Rico from Essex, told the Press Association he had been standing in line for 15 hours to secure his place.
“I’m a big Kanye West fan and a big fan of fashion. So Kanye West and fashion in London? You’ve just got to go,” Rico, a part-time retail assistant and clothes designer, said. “I wanted to be at the front of the queue to make sure I get my stuff.
“I just love his music and everything he stands for. Kanye is like Marmite, you love him or you hate him.”
West premiered The Life of Pablo, his seventh studio album, in February this year as he unveiled his Yeezy Season 3 fashion range, his collaboration with Adidas. The musician’s merchandise has been notoriously hard to purchase. He first signed a deal with the sports brand in 2013, and in 2015 sold 9,000 pairs of Yeezy Boost trainers in 12 minutes. Last year British fashionistas queued outside a clothes shop in Newcastle for days in the hope of bagging the latest range of his trainers.
The new shops follow on from West’s pop-up in New York’s Soho in March, which he said generated $2m (£1.5m) in sales of items including thrift store jackets customised by the rapper for $400. The shops will be open for three days, and other venues around the world include Toronto, Berlin, Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and Cape Town. According to Vogue, T-shirts and hoodies featuring each city’s name, written in the gothic-style script of the artist and West collaborator Cali Thornhill DeWitt, will be available to purchase.
Before the shops opened around the world on Friday, social media users tweeted their excitement and uploaded photos of their local queue.
West did not indicate whether he would make an appearance at any of the pop-up shops. The musician is due to start his North American Saint Pablo tour in Indianapolis on 25 August.
This article was written by Nadia Khomami, for theguardian.com on Friday 19th August 2016 13.49 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010