Kanye West's Yeezus album has yet to enjoy its official release (get your plastics ready for purchase time tomorrow!), but that isn't stopping the Been Trill crew (which includes Ye's friend and style consultant Virgil Abloh) from teasing out what their captions are describing as "tour merch #yeezus x ##" (## being shorthand for the art collective often stylized "#been #trill"). Knee-jerk reaction is shock that without the album in anyone's hands, there's already talk (and maybe confirmation?) of a tour, but since we're about FASHUN here, we're going to talk about this "merch" aspect. First up, Heron Preston, late Been Trill recruit and that dude behind the bootleg Nascar factory defect shirts, posted this snap of himself wearing a black long-sleeved shirt printed with Yeezy's mug from the "New Slaves" projections across the front and "YEEZUS" in all caps with fangs down the exterior letters along both sleeves (better look here).
DISCLAIMER: None of these products actually exist IRL. We're just excellent at Photoshop.
Photo: Givenchy/BabyBib/Nike/Pyrex Vision/Green Daisies/A Bathing Ape/Photoshop: Gaby Wilson
This morning, Kim Kardashian gave boyfriend Kanye West the ULTIMATE Father's Day present: reportedly giving birth to their brand new baby girl and officially making him a dad just in time for the holiday! Ye may have his hands full at the moment with the much-anticipated release of his Yeezus album right around the corner, but he's also made explicitly clear just how excited he is to be a father. Knowing Yeezy, we think it's pretty safe to say that this baby girl is going to be better dressed than most fully developed humans, and the likelihood that much of her closet will be stocked with exclusive one-of-one pieces is extremely high. New momma Kim said it best during a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live earlier this year, "If anyone knows Kanye, they just know how into fashion he is, and I think he’s going to have things, like, specially made. I don’t think hand-me-downs are going to work. I think it has to be, like, really fun stuff." We've heard scant of this "really fun stuff" since then, but if Mr. West is fielding suggestions, we have a few.
Did you know Kanye West has a new album coming out next week? It's kind of a small project, and Ye generally downplays everything he does, so it's understandable that you might not have heard about it... JOKES. Yeezus the man and the record have been everywhere for the better part of the past month and definitely this week. From premiering music at Governors Ball to celebrating his birthday with a star-studded party, from his Manhattan album listening party to the New York Times interview heard 'round the world, Kanye has ramped the anticipation for his sixth studio album waaaay up over the last few days. As we broach release week (the album officially drops on Tuesday, remember?), we want to make sure all the true blue Kanye fans are prepared for the coming of Yeezus. Thus, we've wrangled up a haul of the best Yeezy fan merch (affectionately termed around here as "Stan Swag") for your consumption. And don't worry, it's all (relatively) reasonably priced, so you won't be spending everything on Alexander Wang.
Kanye West's "New York Times" portrait.
Photo: Nick Knight/New York Times
If you haven't already read Jon Caramanica's interview with the (typically) press-elusive Kanye West for the New York Times, go ahead and put this post on pause, open this link in a new tab, and get caught up. Ye and Jon conduct the several-hour-long conversation over the course of three days, discussing West's upcoming sixth solo studio album Yeezus and its position in relation to the rest of West's musical annals. The discourse is candid, unapologetic, and a kind of dream interview for any card-carrying Kanye fan as Yeezy drops bombs like, "Dark Fantasy was my long, backhanded apology," (I'm sorry, WHAT? Are we to infer that his most critically acclaimed release wasn't even that true to himself??) and "Yeah, people asked me to change my name for [808s & Heartbreak]." *jaw drops and tongue rolls out of mouth like a Persian rug with cherub imagery*
The interview is a hotbed of quotables like, "Beauty, truth, awesomeness," and "I am the nucleus," and dubbing himself, "the Michael Jordan of music," each of which make us miss more and more when Ye had a blog and was regularly active on Twitter, but it's the moments when he weaves fashion into their discussion of his music evolution that we're going MOST bananas over (naturally). Check out our favorites below, and be sure to read the interview in its entirety on NYTimes.com because wowowowow it's GOOD.
Beyonce wore Topshop to Kanye West's birthday party.
Photo: Getty Images/Beyonce's Tumblr
What do you wear to Kanye West's birthday party? That's a question we'll probably never have ask for ourselves but still gives us second-hand anxiety regardless. I mean, this is a man who'll vehemently rap, "Don't talk about style 'cause I'll embarrass you," and we believe it. So, if you're showing up to a soiree in celebration of Yeezy, you better have your outfit right. In Beyonce's case, the answer is simple: Topshop. Yup. King Bey will rep Gucci for Chime for Change, Givenchy on the Met Gala red carpet, and a laundry list of the planet's hottest high fashion designers for her The Mrs. Carter Show world tour, but on dear Kanye's born day, she jumped for the crown jewel of the UK retail business.
Could these sneakers be yours someday?
Photo: Getty/@Jsusneaks Instagram
Remember how we mentioned that Kanye West's electrifying performance on Saturday Night Live might also be a subtle debut for a new colorway of his Nike Air Yeezy 2 sneaker? Just in case you were too distracted by the incredible performances, let us refresh your memory: after his debut of "New Slaves" and "Black Skinhead" on the famous late night show, Kanye enthusiasts began to, as we do, unpack his performance look. All-black everything gave way to a pair of bright red kicks that... wait a second, those are Yeezy 2s! But we've never seen the all-red colorway before! And thus, yet another Yeezus-related mystery was born. Today, sneaker heads around the world are abuzz with speculation that the great and powerful Ye may be planning to play rap game Willy Wonka in 1000 copies of his new album, Yeezus, by giving those lucky fans a chance to purchase the shoes. Intrepid British sneaker collector/blogger Jsus Sneaks got his hands on a pair of the all-red kicks, which are pictured complete with the signature Yeezy falcon head and an embossed box (we think), stamped with "June 18, 2013" and an individual number. We think we see where this is going.
Kim Kardashian's Riccardo Tisci floral Met Gala dress reimagined for Kanye.
Photo: Getty Images
ATTN: EVERYONE! Mark your calendars for June 2, because some seriously important Kimye bizness is going down. Well, important if you've following this whole Kim Kardashian and Kanye West baby situation (which, let's be honest, it's kind of tough to hide from...). The official invite for Kim's baby shower has leaked, and according to TMZ, she's requesting that attendees wear "Garden Chic" attire. Hm...we never took Kim to be the gardening type, but perhaps she's still feeling the floral vibes after her Riccardo Tisci Met Gala gown? Or maybe she's just cashing in on one of the most consistent trends of the season ("Florals for spring? Groundbreaking."). Either way, we can't wait to see how all the guests interpret the theme, because you know it's going to be good. And pleasepleaseplease fingers crossed that Kanye shows! Sure, dudes making cameos at baby showers isn't always a thing— but hey, Wiz did it for Amber, so there's definitely hope that Yeezy comes decked out in his flowery best. In our wildest dreams, Riccardo Tisci would craft 'Ye a custom jacket splashed with Kim's Met Gala motif...but just in case that DOESN'T happen, we've rounded up some other garden party duds perfect for the occasion.
Kanye West performs "New Slaves" on Saturday Night Live.
Photo: Getty Images
If you are, in any way, a Kanye West fan, the likelihood that your weekend was insurmountably OWNED by Yeezy (or rather, by Yeezus) is a good one. Ye kicked off our Friday night with the drop of a new song, "New Slaves," and accompanying visual. A music video of sorts, Team Yeezy didn't just upload the clip to the interwebz; instead he took the "New Slaves" premiere out into the physical universe, setting up viewing sites in some 66 worldwide locations and projecting the visuals onto choice buildings. After a short intro loop of discount price and sale tags, a massive tight-shot of Kanye's face staring squarely into camera and rendered in grayscale, a kind of verse-spitting Yeezy version of Shepard Fairey's OBEY Giant, appeared sprawling on the walls and windows of museums, universities, hotels, landmarks, and (most notably to us) high fashion boutiques and shopping districts across the globe. The track itself is fraught with controversy, its lyrics jarringly blending racism and consumerism, and with projection sites like FIT University, New York's 5th Avenue Prada store, the Chanel boutique on Rodeo Drive, and Versace's Miami house, it's unavoidably clear that fashion is at the center of focus.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the 2013 Met Gala red carpet, and Kanye performing at the event.
Photo: Getty/Kim Kardashian's Instagram
Thank you, Kanye West, for offering up new music in as rarefied a setting as the 2013 Met Gala, but thank you more to whomever created Vine for allowing the rest of us to revel in all of the performance's sparkly, masked, screaming glory. Although it's a bit of a bummer that the ultra famous, like A-Trak and Coco Rocha, had to be our conduits to the great and powerful Yeezy, it's true when they say that beggars can't be choosers. (please, Ye, may we have some more?) There are so many things about this performance we need to discuss, it seems possible that by the time we're done unpacking every leathery, iridescent aspect of it, it will be June 18th and whatever mystery Ye has in store for us will be revealed. The kilt! The mask! The gloves! The glitter! I have to admit, I kind of thought Kanye would keep the fashions toned down for the performance, instead letting the mere weight of his presence carry the show, but come on, what was I thinking? He walked the carpet in impeccably tailored Riccardo Tisci, sans tie, with (all due respect) baby-mama Kim Kardashian, also in Tisci, on his arm. But on an evening where everyone was looking for subversion, and any little off-kilter detail added to the eventually-infuriating Möbius strip of is-being-punk-at-the-punk-party-punk-or-is-not-being-punk-at-the-punk-party-punk, Kanye was just his regular old over-the-top self. How punk.