In recent years, that’s taken the form of political activism. West has been outspoken before, declaring that President George W. Bush “didn’t care about Black people” after hurricane Katrina, in 2005. That history is partly why West aligning himself behind Donald Trump was so controversial in recent years. West hasn’t just been a Trump supporter since 2016—he’s been an outspoken advocate, often trumpeting bizarre claims and arguments from the likes of the hyper-conservative Candace Owens. It has borne fruit, though—namely in the form of a presidential pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, for whom West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, had loudly advocated.
West’s ties to Trump made his most recent political turn all the more surprising. Shortly after announcing a 10-year partnership with Gap, West announced he was running for president. This, despite the fact he had previously stated he would be voting for Trump. More importantly, he had missed the filing deadlines in a number of states and, thus, would not appear on the ballots. West then backtracked, slightly, before doubling down by announcing he would be campaigning under the Birthday Party banner, because “when I win, it’ll be everybody’s birthday.” This was followed be a worrisome inaugural campaign event in South Carolina, the aftermath of which underscored West’s ongoing mental health struggles.
So, now you’re probably asking: Why bring up Kanye West’s politics on a men’s fashion site? Let’s explain.
Kanye West’s behavior and ambitions have always been complex. His Yeezy brand is probably best known for its collaborative adidas sneakers and clothing line, but it’s the lesser-known, more imaginative projects that reveal the scale of West’s ambitions: new ideas for housing and agriculture and society writ large.
Look at his evolution musically; West has gone from being a producer, to a chart-topping rapper, to a concept-album perfectionist, to a gospel artist.
It’s a never-ending quest for a new challenge—a new frontier.
Nothing seems to better illustrate Kanye West’s thirst for change, penchant for reinvention and influence than his relationship with fashion. From West’s earliest days as a public figure, his sense of fashion has been central to his persona—one that has shifted with each passing album.