Before Kanye West ever ran his own fashion shows, he attended them… front row nonetheless. While he may have been rejected by many of fashion’s elite, or “discriminated” against, to quote the man himself, it didn’t stop him from supporting and being a fan of the various high fashion brands who reciprocated the love that he had for them.
Among his favourites is French high fashion house, Maison Margiela. West had an adoration for the brand long before he made their iconic face masks a staple fashion piece as a part of his 2014 Yeezus tour. Pre-Yeezus, the masks were frequently present in Margiela runway shows. And West even rocked one during a performance before the tour that changed everything for West.
And thanks to an article by Starcasm that’s aged like nothing but a fine wine, they documented the infamous quote in which the rapper explains his choice to rock the masks on tour. The interview went down at his performance at the London Wireless Festival on the 4th of July in 2014. West explains that among many things, it’s about breaking down walls.
He said, “If you’re a creator…and you just want to create more, this is exactly what I’ve been fighting for. So if you hear me talk about Louis Vuitton or the Gucci group or anything like that, I’m not dissin’ Louis Vuitton, I’m not dissin’ the Gucci group and sh*t, I’m just sayin’ don’t discriminate against me. Because I’m a black man or because I’m a celebrity you tell me I can’t create in that field. Because you know damn well ain’t no black guys or celebrities makin’ no Louis Vuitton nothing!”
“They let me make those shoes and we liked ’em, right? And they say, “No, no, no n*gga, not no more. That’s too much… stay in your place. Sit in front of that show and wear this jacket I made you. Stay in your place! Do what you get paid to do! Stay in your place! Don’t embarrass yourself trying to chase your dreams. Save face. Save face.”
West continued, “That’s why I got this fucking mask on, because I ain’t worried about saving face. Fuck my face! That sounded wrong. [laughs] Pause. But they finally got a headline. But fuck whatever my face is supposed to mean and fuck whatever the name Kanye is supposed to mean, it’s about my dreams! And it’s about anybody’s dreams. It’s about creating. It’s not about the idea about being a fucking celebrity, it’s not about the idea of being a black man trying to do fashion and shit.”
How practical are the Maison Margiela’s signature masks you may wonder? Well for one thing, apparently you can actually see through them. In an interview with Vogue, they revealed, “It is very easy to see when wearing the veils as the black silk chiffon base is embroidered in a way that allows one to see through the fabric.”