Is Kanye West A Fashion Icon? Do You Think Talent Or Racism Is The Reason Why He Hasn’t Succeeded In The Fashion Industry?

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Givenchy : Front Row - Paris Fashion Week - Menswear F/W 2014-2015

Kanye West already sits in the driver’s seat of a burgeoning empire which includes the record label G.O.O.D. Music, creative house DONDA, and a chain of Fatburger restaurants designated for the Chicago area. In the past, West released a line of athletic shoes for Nike called Air Yeezy, and another shoe line with Louis Vuitton. He has also released two capsule lines with Parisian brand A.P.C., designed shoewear for Bape and Italian shoemaker Giuseppe Zanotti.

West inked a deal with Adidas last year, and the collection is slated to debut soon. Earlier this year, West’s creative house DONDA entered into partnership with Roc Nation to manage all of Kanye‘s international recording brand and worldwide touring ventures, according to the press release.

Even though West has been tapped as a source of inspiration and hired for brand campaigns, he still hasn’t been accepted by fashionistas & fashionistos, earned his credits in the fashion industry or reached mainstream success. Basically, he’s having a difficult time gaining credibility within the design realm.

In 2005, he announced that he would release his Pastelle Clothing line in spring 2006. The line was developed over the following four years – with multiple pieces teased by West himself – before the line was ultimately cancelled in 2009.

In November 2013, I reported that Kanye West closed the doors to his Milan-based main fashion office and it was reported that he moved his fashion house to NYC.

In October 2011, Kanye premiered his “DW” by Kanye West womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week. Critics weren’t too pleased and they even went as far as slandering the rapper’s collection. The New York Times, Eric Wilson said, “What Mr. West eventually showed was confusing…it was obvious that most of the clothes suffered from a poor fit.”

Kanye returned to Paris for the second time on March 6, 2012, and showed his Autumn/Winter 2012 collection at Paris Fashion Week. During the presentation, models walked the runway in a total of 20 different looks which included leather, furs and biker jackets. Fashion critics said that the second time around, “Kanye’s line was better than his first tried.” WSJ‘s Christina Binkley said, “This collection looks like he has had a lot of consultants working with him, but it’s way better than before.”

The collection did not show at fashion week since, and currently, I do not know if the line is still in existing or discontinued.

With a style and resume like Kanye‘s, some people would consider him a fashion icon. A fashion icon “is someone who has affected the way other people (men/women) dress.” Kanye has definitely affected the way other people dress.

Do you think Kanye West is a fashion icon? Honestly, I prefer not to say if I think that Kanye is or is not a fashion icon. I prefer for you guys to give your opinion.

However, I do not think that racism is the reason why Kanye hasn’t succeeded in the fashion industry. I do think that Kanye didn’t devote his all to fashion; he’s trying to juggle his line with his music career. If he really wants this, then he’s going to have to really hunker down and take a different viewpoint. It doesn’t seem like he’s prepared to give up on the idea of having his own line. Victoria Beckham was once a pop singer and she succeeded in the fashion industry because fashion is now her one and only job. She gave up on her music career to pursue her fashion line.

Kanye‘s music talent is there, but when people are really successful the way Kanye has been in music, they’re hoping and expecting their notoriety and fame will just translate across a lot of products. He’s has style and is very fashionable but I don’t think all the fashion talents are there. The fashion industry requires a lot of dedication and work. Some people will buy Kanye’s products once just because of his notoriety, but if the products doesn’t deliver, they won’t buy them again. You can’t base a fashion business on just fans. People base fashion on quality, does the clothes make you look good, does the clothes make you look sexy, they have to fit perfectly, they have to be in the right price range, they have to look different from what’s already out there. Clothes have to deliver as a whole. This is nothing new! This is the very proposition that ever serious creative designer or artistic director struggles with day in and day out. And that’s not any different for Kanye.

Maybe Kanye is aiming for the wrong demographic. Wanting to be a part of upscale fashion is a process. It doesn’t just happen! The upscale designers have been passionate about fashion for years and worked hard to get to where they are. They’re not so prone to just letting people come in and just turning into a big deal. These are some talented people. They’ve been preparing for this all their lives.

Do you think that talent or racism is the reason why Kanye West hasn’t succeeded in the fashion industry?

BuzzFoto Celebrity Sightings In New York - November 20, 2013

Photos Credit: Getty

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of For all general inquiries please email Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.