When we talk about streetwear fashion, several names pop into our heads as trendsetters. But one controversial name that takes the cake is Kanye West. Ye. The Louis Vuitton Don. Yeezus. These are all the names of one of the men who changed the sneaker and music industries. However, the inexperienced wouldn’t know that he’s a fashion icon too! The man’s fashion influence definitely went beyond footwear by miles. And although the world canceled Ye following antisemitic comments and other controversies, his fashion impact is still there. So here’s how Kanye West influenced some of the biggest trends!
The Easy Guide To Kanye West’s Fashion Influence
We’re kicking it off with the famous shutter shades. When we tell you that the 2000s were wild times, we’re not kidding. In his “Stronger” music video, Kanye wore a very interesting accessory. You guessed it! The shutter shades. The not-so-glassy glasses soon became a must-have among fans. Moreover, some celebrities rocked this trend like Paris Hilton! However, nobody does it better than Ye, and the shades became known as “Kanye West Glasses”.
He Helped Turn Streetwear into High-End Fashion
Along with Virgil Abloh and Pharrell Williams, Kanye West paved the way for streetwear to become high-end fashion! The clothes themselves aren’t anything new and brands like Supreme and Stüssy came before Off-White and Yeezy. However, the Yeezy line made it to the runways in places like New York and Milan. And let’s not forget about Kanye’s nickname, the Louis Vuitton Don, that he got after collaborating with LV!
It certainly came as a shock to him when Virgil got the LV post instead of him. But well, he certainly didn’t hold a grudge for long. And in 2023, the torch went to Pharrell Williams, as he became the new LV Menswear Creative Director!
Chunky Dad Shoes!
So, remember the shoes our dads used to embarrass us with? Well, now we’re wearing them too! However, there’s a never-ending debate about who started it. It’s a head-to-head competition between Balenciaga and Yeezy! However, we decided that dates don’t lie, and dates clearly show that Kanye had the upper hand. The first Yeezy 700 “Wave Runner” was seen at the Yeezy Season 5 fashion show in February 2017. And it officially dropped later in August 2017. Meanwhile, the Balenciaga Triple S didn’t drop till September 2017! So we’ve got a clear winner here.
With chunky kicks becoming cool again, brands certainly tried to benefit from that. That, along with hot collaborations, helped New Balance make a huge comeback into the hype sneaker scene. So now you can rock the dad style and kicks still look cool!
First, let’s just say those leather joggers were just a bad idea. It’s as bad as trying to make “fetch” happen. But we cannot ignore the fact that Kanye West made these popular for a while! These completely useless, uncomfy joggers were Kanye’s trademark for a while. He actually claimed back in 2013 that he invented the joggers. But, let’s just pray they stay in 2013 and don’t come back.
Earth Tones in Clothing
Whenever we think about earth tones, Kanye West immediately pops into our minds. It’s not exactly fashion influence, but this color theme became his playfield since Yeezy Season 1! And if we simply take a look at Adidas Yeezy lineups through the years, we’ll know that tonals are it.
Brought Adidas Back into the Game… And Took It Out Again
When the first Yeezy was released, Adidas’ share became 30% of the resale market after a low 1%. But that’s not all! The sales in North America witnessed a 5% boost (pun intended). So it’s kinda obvious that the Yeezy partnership helped Adidas a lot after being in a tight spot. It actually came back on the hype map after almost going stale.
We wish it had to do with Adidas as a brand, but after dropping Kanye, it became obvious that he carried the hype. In fact, if we look at the other Adidas collaborations, we can see that something is lacking. And well, the three stripes brand is definitely struggling with huge losses in 2023. You can read all about that right here.
On Wednesdays We Wear Pink!
If you really listen closely, you can hear Kanye rapping hard about them polos! But the one polo color that stood out for everyone was the pink mustard-stained one he wore in his “All Fall Down” music video. Kanye never shied away from wearing popping colors, especially pink! And we can see him wearing pink on several occasions.
Kanye West also broke the “macho” stereotype by wearing women’s clothing. He’s not really the first to do that, but he’s one the most influential! Really… Who can pull off a Céline shirt or a skirt while still looking manly as heck? So we can give him that, he paved the way for mixing masculine and feminine fashion! Other celebrities that did that same stunt are Kid Cudi and the late Kurt Cobain.
The Rise and Fall of Yeezy GAP
When Ye and GAP announced their 10-year partnership with Yeezy the brand’s sales actually jumped a nice 42%! GAP actually covered their Chicago store with a handwritten message from Kanye. Moreover, this collab was important enough to make Kanye come back to Twitter! After all, it was the #WESTDAYEVER! Yeezy GAP was 2021’s hottest partnership and both brands took marketing to a new level in 2022.
But all good things must come to an end, and this end was not as happy as we thought it would be. Kanye ended the partnership in September 2022, and well, the Adidas split followed soon enough. However, the oversized puffy leather fit was there to stay, even if the partnership didn’t. In fact, people speculated that Rihanna’s Super Bowl fit (and platform stage) took inspiration from Ye!
Head Masks – Anonymously Stylish
From Maison Margiela to Balenciaga, Ye boldly rocked full-on head masks. These masks range from luxurious to hilariously ugly, you can pick and choose! But one thing’s for sure, he certainly paved the way for other celebrities to wear these masks.
Kanye West – Did He Really Influence Fashion?
In short? Yes, he did. Love or hate him, Kanye West managed to make a name for himself as an artist, designer, and trendsetter! Although people consider some of the trends trash, we can’t deny how cool they were in their own time. And between the backlash and getting hitched again, Ye always has something to say, one way or another.