April 28, 2014 via Pepsi
The Style Evolution of Kanye West
To say Kanye West is a “renaissance man” is a vast understatement. Over the course of his 10+ years in the pop culture limelight, the Windy-City rapper has dominated not only the musical arena, but seemingly every facet of society as well. Specifically, Kanye West has become a style maven whose earliest looks told the story of a true hip-hop head, and whose current wardrobe registers as a who’s-who of the fashion elite. Here is the style evolution of Kanye West.
The College Dropout, 2003
When Kanye West was introduced to the masses, GQ penned the term “prep-hop” to describe his ensembles. Known to rock Ralph Lauren Polo sweaters emblazoned with teddy bears and pastel-colored rugby shirts, his monogrammed Louis Vuitton backpack was of course a staple piece that went on to define The College Dropout era.
Late Registration, 2005
This is a period when Kanye West began to really experiment with what it meant to be a hip-hop artist. Tossing out the rulebook, he mixed and matched - combining pieces previously indicative of the culture with more upscale twists. Case in point, the white satin-lapeled, three-piece tux he wore to the Grammys combined with white Air Force 1s.
While his style was forever diverse, West delved deeper into streetwear. Having appeared in LRG campaigns as early as 2004, he set the Internet on fire when he rocked their full-zip Dead Serious Hoodie to a Stella McCartney event - as well as dabbled in attire from the likes of A Bathing Ape, OriginalFake and Billionaire Boys Club. Additionally, he sported plastic-framed glasses and complementary-colored G-SHOCK watches during this time. As Esquire put it, he was “part nightclub, part throwback, all class.”
808s & Heartbreak, 2008
While this period may be remembered for his grey suit with the contrasting red heart emblem on its lapel, one can’t overlook his Alain Mikli shutter shades. The shades by the French eyewear designer went on to create a global frenzy. In the years following the release of the album, West would design a shoe for Louis Vuitton, intern for Fendi in Rome, and sport brands like Saint Laurent.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010
While months prior he had championed the “Rosewood Movement” that saw members of G.O.O.D. Music rocking slim, Dior Homme suits and matching black ties, West began to champion louder clothing as evidenced by his wearing of the color red during this period. His affinity for the work of Phillip Lim was represented in the video for “Runaway” that saw the designer commenting, “I am really feeling colors that exist in shadows.” His support of the album also saw him favor red Balmain pants. The world was introduced to a more “monochromatic” Kanye West during this time.
Watch the Throne, 2011
No one in their right mind would have guessed that Kanye West would bring the kilt to the masses, but he in fact did just that. Rocking Givenchy almost from head to toe for his time with Jay Z, this is also when the world was introduced to his collaboration with Nike, the Air Yeezy. Pieces like Riccardo Tisci’s Rottweiler Tee were certainly staples as well.
While Kanye’s current style seems to be a reflection of everything he’s worn in the past, it’s hard to ignore his on-stage attire as it really reflects his style metamorphosis. In support of Yeezus and the subsequent tour, those that attended couldn’t ignore the crystal masks by Maison Martin Margiela.