Anybody who has not heard of Kayne’s Yeezy Boost sneakers, must be living, horror of horrors, without an internet connection. Not only are they alleged to have sold out within the first minute of release, but they continue to be unavailable on Adidas online stores worldwide, whilst counterfeit versions of the item emerge in abundance on other online retail websites; it seems unquestionable that for many, these Yeezy sneakers are a highly coveted item.

Other than creating rather space age looking trainers, Kayne has designed entire fashion collections, conveniently, also titled YEEZY. These collections have proved so popular that Mr West launched YEEZY Season 3 earlier this year at Madison Square Garden to an audience of around 20,000. Rather cleverly, his latest sartorial offering was accompanied by the debut of his latest album, The Life of Pablo. The result was more of a sensory spectacle than a typical fashion show, which served not only as a showcase for his fashion line but his music as well.

“With many rappers defining themselves through trademark looks, the worlds of rap and fashion have often become intertwined”

However, Kayne is neither the only nor the first rapper to take a plunge into the fashion pool. Other notable rappers that have done collaborations with fashion brands include Wu Tang Clan, Drake, Jay Z, Pharrell and 2 Chainz. Rappers have always been associated with street style and with many rappers defining themselves through trademark looks, the worlds of rap and fashion have often become intertwined. Moreover, this overlap need not necessarily be as obvious as a capsule collection between rappers and brands.

The most recently uploaded video (at the time of writing) on the official Vogue YouTube channel is a fashion film titled ‘Desiigner Takes “Panda” to Wall Street With Model Andreea Diaconu’ and the video does just that. The choice to shoot a promotional video for swimwear at a mostly water-free location and to feature Desiigner is a good indication, marketing-wise, of what the millennial consumer demands. Another video on Vogue’s channel is a visual summary of Tyler the Creator’s debut fashion show for his line Golfwang. In his closing remarks for the show, Tyler talked about identity, creating art and recognition.

“I wonder whether such collaborations inadvertently work against the creation of identity”

These statements lead me to consider the impact of designer rappers. Tyler (who happens to be banned from entering the UK) seems to advocate for a greater development of individual identity. However, in an age where celebrity status allows for the significant wielding of influence over fans, I wonder whether such collaborations inadvertently work against the creation of identity. Fans rush to buy products made by their celebrity icons since one cannot get much closer to looking like one’s idols than by donning the very pieces created by them. Case in point: all those sold out Yeezy sneakers.

Claire Elizabeth Seah

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Image credit: demxx via Flickr

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