Days removed from one of the biggest weeks of his career, Kanye West spoke with Style.com and broke down the accomplishment of releasing his latest sneaker and the accompanying Adidas Original fashion line he presented at New York Fashion Week. Speaking on everything from his inspiration for the line—”I have a perspective on color that I’ve always wanted to get across”—to dealing with racism in the fashion industry, Kanye opened up by admitting that he doesn’t even consider himself a designer.
“I wouldn’t consider myself to be a designer in that way,” he said. “I just want to propose a solution to problems that me and my wife and my friends face. I sit with a group of problem solvers and say, ‘In this situation, I would like to have this.’ And then from my art background—from my heart background—I have a perspective on color that I’ve always wanted to get across. What I thought was interesting was taking a red and doing it in a sports bra, and as opposed to the usual super-techy fabrics that people use for gym clothes, to really have more of a dry approach to the gym clothes. Even with the way we took Adidas socks and turned them into sports bras. It’s like, ‘What is almost like Alaïa that you can sweat in?’ A sock! And it had to only be the sports bra because it looked really funny once [it] started going into the biking shorts. I tried that and that didn’t come out so well.”
He also broached his struggles with race in the fashion world, basically writing off the issue entirely.
“Racism and the focus on racism is a distraction to humanity,” he said. “It would be like focusing on the cousin from your mom’s side versus the cousin on your dad’s side. We’re all cousins. We’re all the same race. To even focus on the concept of race, it’s like—perhaps people give me an extra cookie for the fact that my color palette is so controlled and I’m black. When someone that’s like, racist, comes up to me at A.P.C. and says, ‘I thought it would be a bunch of animals on your shirts,’ because they heard that I rapped. But it just makes the journey interesting. We came into a broken world. And we’re the cleanup crew. And we’re only cleaning up by helping each other.”
Notably, Ye also hinted that his partnership with Adidas is a better fit than his history at Nike, and possibly even A.P.C.
“Adidas is the perfect place to be,” he said. “If someone was to say, ‘Hey, do you want to go to a high-end house now?’ I’d absolutely say no. I’m not trying to [sound] presumptuous, I’m just saying that if in my wildest dreams I was presented with the opportunity, I would absolutely say no at this point. Because I’m only concerned with making beautiful products available to as many people as possible.”
In that light, one of the most interesting quotes in the interview came with a Robin Hood analogy.
“People sometimes ask, ‘Why does Kanye West pander to fashion in this way?'” he said. “I don’t pander to it, I’m trying to learn from it. Because I believe there’s some information in it that can help people have better lives. And it’s being held and blocked and not given to the people. So this is very much a Robin Hood approach that I have to making clothes.”
Read the full interview here.