Kanye West Talks New Fashion Career & Being Inspired By The Gay Community
First Published: February 17, 2009 3:04 PM EST Credit: Details Magazine
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Kanye West is moving to Paris for a career in fashion.
The hip-hop superstar confirmed he is making good on his promise to fully immerse himself in the fashion world, by interning for a designer like Louis Vuitton’s Marc Jacobs or Jil Sander’s Raf Simons, according to a new interview in Details.
“Marc Jacobs is my fashion idol because of the way he merges all worlds, the way he’s big in the hood and the head of the No. 1 fashion house in the world,” Kanye told Details for their March 2009 cover story. “For me, Jay-Z’s my big brother, but what he was to me in rap is what Marc Jacobs is to me in fashion – the feeling I get when I look at him is exactly what I got when I’d look at Jay-Z in the studio.”
Kanye said one reason he is heading into fashion – he recently debuted a luxury shoe line for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week last month — is because he has conquered the music world, and now wants to go where his heart lies.
“There’s nothing more to be said about music,” he told the magazine. “I’m the f***ing end-all, be-all of music. I know what I’m doing… It’s on cruise control… Man, we talked about music for God knows how long… Now let’s talk about how my f***ing sweater didn’t come back right from Korea. That’s what’s interesting me.”
Some may find it unusual for someone from hip-hop, a musical genre not known for its support of the gay community (where hoards of stars including 50 Cent, DMX and Eminem have been accused of using homophobic rhetoric) to head into the fashion world. And, while explaining to Details why he calls the woman who organizes flower installations in his home the “Apartment Manager,” Kanye said he has been thoroughly inspired by the gay creatives he has come across on his fashion journey.
“Titles are very important. I like to embody titles, y’know, or words that have negative connotations, and explain why that’s good,” he said. “Take the word gay – like, in hip-hop, that’s a negative thing, right? But in the past two, three years, all the gay people I’ve encountered have been, like, really, really, extremely dope. Y’know, I haven’t, like, gone to a gay bar, nor do I ever plan to. But where I would talk to a gay person – the conversation would be mostly around, like, art or design – it’d be really dope. From a design standpoint, kids’ll say, ‘Dude, those pants are gay.’ But if it’s like, good, good, good fashion-level design-level stuff, where it’s on a higher level than the average commercial design stuff, it’s, like, gay people that do that. I think that should be said as a compliment. Like, ‘Dude, that’s so good it’s almost… gay.’”
Kanye explained that his intense drive, which made him a rap superstar and now is priming him for great things in the fashion world, came when he was a pre-teen computer programmer.
“First beat I did… was in seventh grade, on my computer. I got into doing beats for the video games I used to try to make. My game was very sexual. The main character was, like, a giant penis. It was like Mario Brothers, but the ghosts were, like, vaginas. Mind you, I’m 12 years old, and this is stuff that 20-year-olds are programming. You’d have to draw in and program every little step – it literally took me all night to do a step, ‘cause the penis, y’know, had little feet and eyes,” he explained.
“People ask me a lot about my drive. I think it comes from, like, having a sexual addiction at a really young age,” he continued. “Look at the drive that people have to get sex – to dress like this and get a haircut and be in the club in the freezing cold at 3 AM, the places they go to pick up a girl. If you can focus the energy into something valuable, put that into [your] work ethic.”
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