Close your eyes. It’s fashion week. You planned on going home after work but at the last minute you get a tweet alert. It’s Kanye West saying he’s revealing his newest line in two hours, and he wants you there. Picture a warehouse full of rows of lifeless-looking bodies covered in shredded clothing. Just in case you forgot already, this is not the set of a movie, it’s Kanye West’s, “Yeezy Season,” clothing line’s fashion show.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 12 months, West’s clothing line, YEEZY Season has been the subject of controversy among the pop culture and fashion communities since its inception.
The lack of intrigue a majority of consumers have with the YEEZY brand boils down to a few different things; creativity, quality, and value or price. I’m not a fashion designer, nor am I friends with YEEZY himself but I’ll try to break down, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,’ when it comes to YEEZY Season.
Creatively, the brand definitely has a unique approach when it comes to design, and even presentation of fashion. His shoes retail at $250 day of launch, but after that you can find them sold for upwards of $2000. Surprisingly, the only marketing he puts behind them is day-to-day wear. It’s most surprising that this same method doesn’t work for his clothing line. Without question, West is an amazing sneaker designer, but so far the biggest issue with his collections is their lack of diversity.
Ye’ has made it no secret that he hired designers from the top fashion houses out, but they also were the youngest.The issue with hiring young creatives is that they haven’t honed their own creative singularity and aren’t always immune to groupthink. Pretty much what happens is when one person comes up with an idea in a room, all the others start to resemble it. This would explain why a majority of his pieces have looked relatively the same.
YEEZY season clothing is constructed from high quality material, but not like a couture piece or even ready to wear. A sweatshirt can only provide so much utility, while still feeling high quality, and fitting well on your body. Fabric sourcing is an essential part of the design process and a majority of his line is made from virgin terry cloth, which is moderately expensive. But when it’s distressed, as a majority of YEEZY’s pieces are, with excessive tears and holes, that’s when things get complicated. Most would even agree that just like when a car is scratched, damages equal depreciation.
Whether Kanye recognizes it or not quality, and creativity are a large portion of what attributes to a garments, nevertheless a brand’s, value. Aside from the staple costs like fabric, production, etc. If even on a rudimentary level, like design, it can’t be appreciated by the consumer, you can’t expect people to value it at the same level that you do. Kanye’s pride and passion for his product encourages him to supercede rational business practices, and choices.
A large portion of his brand’s marketing strategy has relied on the pure depth of his persona. This is great, because he’s a household name in fashion, but that will only get you so far. People want to feel like they’re attaining a brand associated lifestyle when they purchase, and that isn’t the case so far with YEEZY’s past collections. Hobo-chic is very different stylistically than homeless, and YEEZY is the latter.
With the impending reveal of his third season I can only hope that West has put a bit more energy into producing more synergy between his brand’s creativity, quality and value.