Purchasing beauty products and clothing inspired by celebrities has never been my thing. With the exception of the Fenty Beauty line, the majority of them are just substandard products with celebrity approval glossed over. These products are merely for their hypnotized following and hardly ever for someone who values the actual product. Most celebrity lines don’t even last the test of time to begin with.
When Kanye West started his clothing line which embraced this ragged aesthetic, I would have never imagined it would have survived more than two seasons. His show presentations which were always grander than the clothes, made it impossible to remember that there were even clothes involved. At his Madison Square Garden spectacular, he made the swaggering announcement of being ready to be the creative director at Hermes. At his Roosevelt Island Show he made his attendees wait for hours in the sun before the show started and purposely scheduled his show for the same time as other brands. His shows somehow always manage to come across as more of egotistical statements, which is not supposed to be the aim of creative director. Perhaps this is why, too, I could never be drawn to products endorsed by him, not to mention the fact that the clothes leave much to be desired. Each season seems to reshuffle itself with varying styling approaches but always manages to focus on the same cuts, colours, aesthetics and concept. Sometimes I wonder why I still read coverage of it. I suppose it’s the allure that the brand sells; the self-awareness of his vanity is quite pulsating, it leaves you thinking what next. The statement I suppose is what sustains it, and this is what consumers buy into consciously and subconsciously.
A week short of the beginning of fashion week in NY, a slew of images was released on the Instagram accounts of his wife, Kim Kardashian West, model Jordyn Woods, Paris Hilton and a few of his other celebrity counterparts. They were staged paparazzi pictures mimicking those first released by his wife, which featured her standout platinum coloured hair and staged poses of her getting into a car and sucking a lollipop among others.
Social media wise, he basically opened fashion week. It was a clever, sarcastic approach that again delivered one of his allegories and what better way to do it than through the mass following of his wife, friends and associates. It’s not hard to believe that this season was one dedicated to our obsession of wanting to associate with popular culture and celebrities. It was almost like a mini-photo series guideline on how to be mainstream, or perhaps he was trying to visually state that everything cultural as it relates to fashion is and can only be influenced by celebrities. Either way, it was a fixation of a hierarchy and who really is in control. How much more Kanye can this get?
I don’t like Kanye’s clothes, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I think he is incredibly talented. His album ‘College Dropout’ is actually one of my all-time favourites and while he may not be the most innovative designer, there is no arguing that marketing wise what he did was actually brilliant. Brands and young designers are constantly trying to find the most effective way to use social media to their advantage to reach their consumer base and potential ones and while Kanye may have the relationships to favour such a move, there is no arguing that the content was suitable for the medium and I think this is where most brands miss the mark. Perhaps his brand has reached the maturity for such, but it managed to not lose its ego-fuelled vibe. I suppose the takeaway message from this is even if your clothes suck it’s still possible for the brand to survive through appropriate holistic marketing across all channels.