I began working as one of Pastelle’s first employees. I helped set up the sampling studio, hired the pattern makers and the sewers, bought the sewing machines and materials and worked on developing the brand itself. I went to Japan for the first time—with Kanye—and developed the first Pastelle clothing samples. During that trip, Willo and I found the hearts balloon (from the 808s & Heartbreak cover) at Tokyu Hands. That was my most memorable trip to Japan.

Kanye is just super creative. Since the beginning, he has always been a great designer with a high taste level. He's always had a clear vision for what he wants. 'Ye’s color palette—to this day—is still the same kind of taupes, salmons, and military colors as it was back then. He's always had such a strong affinity and love for clothing—shoes especially. His drawings and ideas for shoes were always just next level. His ideas were always just so cool. At the end of the day, Kanye is his own creative director. The people he surrounds himself with, like myself, are supporters of his ideas who facilitate new conversations.

I spent roughly eight years, on and off, working with Kanye. I'm so grateful for the opportunities he gave me. He really believed in and supported me from day one.

Tags: matthew-williams