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The Curious Case of ‘Yeezy’

Image: Instagram post by YEEZY MAFIA

I have revised this opinion piece several times. You see, I haven’t written anything in quite some time. Not for lack of inspiration, but a lack of words for the way fashion is evolving so quickly. Back when I was a young, starry-eyed fashionista, nothing was more important than watching the runway shows. My friend Dominique and I would eagerly await whatever show we could find online. The moments are always a special thing for us. Two young and black creatives sharing in a love of something people from our hometown didn’t understand. Though we weren’t there, we were immersed in the atmosphere. Watching the shows gave us a window into a world we understood so clearly but hadn’t been invited into.

Gathered around a laptop or whatever device we could get our hands on, we’d fawn over that featured designer, moments before a show. We knew if we were watching Galliano at Dior to expect chiffons and silks in every color you could dream. Alber Elbaz (of Lanvin fame) would serve you a femme-fatale look worthy of any Bond woman. It was in these moments Dominique and I knew what shows would be worthy of our attention and which should fall by the way-side. Keep in mind that most of these houses are over a century old.

Not every collection is a slay. Nevertheless, the anticipation of something new, whether recycled or innovative, was explicit. Here I am after a self-imposed exile from fashion looking for that same stir of emotion I once couldn’t live without. In turning my eyes to the current barrage of offerings, one new contender stood out the most: “Yeezy”. I could talk about the atmosphere of the show and how kinetic the room was (for the record I wasn’t there darling but technology.) I could go on about the hype surrounding the show. I could do all those things but my attention is on the collection… This Yeezy Fall ‘20 RTW seems to follow a minimalist aesthetic the budding designer seems to take with all of his collections. Now in that aspect there is no need to panic. Many designers (including one of my faves Jil Sanders) find themselves with a concept and run it into the ground. Even before the first model came down the runway, I had my reservations.

 Creativity is something Mr. West has in spades. His early music, amassed all of us from different walks of ‘The Culture.’ Kanye West is hands down the reason men in fashion push the envelope when it comes to style. Much like Rihanna, he created fashion moments garnered around his different album releases. He went from “Preparatory Cool” with his first two albums, an 80’s vibe with “808’s and Heartbreak” then full on luxe with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. Here we are now in his era of minimalism and I’m wondering where exactly is the off-ramp? All of what came down the runway looked incomplete. Models sashayed down the catwalk in some kind of lop-sided muslin sports bras tank top mash up. There were puffer coats in what appears to be some wash reminiscent of faded clothes from your local Goodwill. That’s no shade at thrifting because we all do it. With the puffer coats however, the shapes are irregular and settle oddly against the frame. If that was the intention, bravo…you are now a disproportionate snow man. For some reason, Ye decided women want to release their inner Yeti and wear it outwardly as a trouser. The answer is “No.”  Even if you do decide you HAVE to have these pants, if you could tell me a place you’d actually want to be seen in them then maybe I could reconsider. Strangely enough there weren’t many clothing layers for this to be a Fall show. Ten of the nineteen looks had no sleeves or anything in the way of covering. What sleeves we did get were on a white judo top which isn’t bad but the overall look gave me “Hospital Scrub Realness”. Speaking of hospital, the star of the show were what appears to be hospital beds disguised as a slippers. Past season seem to have an affinity for highly coveted footwear and currently these Serta memory foam slippers are staying course…. I do understand that maybe I just don’t get it. I don’t profess to know everything fashion oriented. Maybe there is a new wave that I don’t see yet. Maybe this will be the look five years from now and I’ll eat my words. Maybe I am absolutely wrong about all this. But currently in this year of 2020, on this late night that I write this, it’s a hard “No” from me. It’s not to say I don’t think there could ever be a collection of Yeezy that doesn’t blow me away. Kanye is still finding his footing. Here we are seven collections in and I’m still waiting on the point. I’d like to add that I don’t want to hear about how it sells out. If you are producing limited quantities and sending them to select stores, of course they will sell out…. In this era of 24/7 celebrity, Yeezy makes sense. It is a world curated for him and by him. It is a world where he can’t be wrong simply because he is the creator. His shows are used to keep hype around his brand and his wife, not for fashion consumers. I think about those days with Dominique and how palpable these shows were even from a computer screen. I think about the butterflies I could feel i my stomach and the excitement that left my mouth once a look made its way. Here I am looking for something to move me; something I can feel. If this is the “future of fashion” as Mr. West touts, I’ll stay in my self-imposed exile.

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