KANYE WEST. HOPE FOR EMERGING DESIGNERS.
Kylie Jenner releases a lip gloss, and people buy it. Michael Jordan puts out a new sneaker, and people buy it. Oprah promotes a weight loss program and folks jump on board. An emerging talent sets up a business and usually, they find themselves trapped in a path of thorns.
On the celebrity side, many of these "elite members" simply take advantage of their reputation to create more profit. However, Kanye West is one of the few using his power to improve, to contribute and to evolve.
If there's one thing we can't deny, it's that Kanye West is a phenomenon for our generation. Is an icon of culture; in fashion, in music and probably in 2020 politics. Like it or not, he is at the intersection of a long list of cultural elements that have positioned him today, as one of the most unconventional celebrities of all time.
West is a prominent figure in the world of streetwear thanks to his brand Yeezy - the ready-to-wear brand made in association with Adidas - but in spite of the recognition he receives, Kanye West doesn't agree with the modus operandi of the current fashion system, even though his name appears again and again linked to some of the most important brands in the world - either as a collaborator or simply as a reclamation in the front-row of fashion weeks - West perfectly knows how difficult it is to prosper in the fashion world and is determined to change it.
"In the film Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope's character gets into his own car and all the professionals get into it and break it so that it can't compete. That's how he treats me in the fashion world. Basically, it's up to me to use every penny I have and allow my employees to overcharge me. That moment of the film is like the one I experienced when, after having a fashion show, I published a tweet saying that I had a debt of 53 million dollars."
"People think I'm a rich kid with a hobby, very few know that I have a doctorate in art, it's actually an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Chicago. It's not that it makes any difference, but it serves to shut the mouths of those who criticize me."
Kanye West has talked about the barriers and lack of help that make thousands of creative minds emerging from the fashion world (especially in the case of racialized people) go to waste.
Recently, the artist - unique in his kind - has launched an incubator project to help emerging designers that will provide financial support for their projects, as well as personalized advice from Kanye himself, resources shared with Yeezy and support for other disciplines of design.
The first grant from Kanye West's new incubator will go to Maisie Schloss - from Chicago - who graduated from Parsons and worked at Yeezy as a women's fashion designer. As she told Vogue magazine, she started working at the firm as an assistant, but the creative atmosphere in her offices allowed her to add her input to many ideas, which in turn helped open the way that has culminated in the creation of her own brand, Maisie Wilen.
With lots of prints, bright colours and risky but very wearable shapes, Schloss will present her brand this month at a prestigious event in Los Angeles, just before presenting it in Paris to the general public. She is the immediate fruit of Kanye West's creative incubator.
"What is my definition of success? For me, money is not. Inspiring people is a definition of success."
At LaBoutik, there is a soft spot in our hearts for homegrown start-ups and for designers who insist on using only the best quality products to bring their creations from a simple sketch or initial design all the way up through a finished product.
We know what it means to start from the bottom, we know what it means to build a business with years of hard work, time, setbacks and successes. That's why we believe that Kanye West's initiative to support emerging and independent companies and designers - elevating the original, enriching the fashion scene, motivating many entrepreneurial spirits and dreamers around the world - is a big step to rescue the fundamental values to create transcendence, which today, are shipwrecking towards the trivial.