Kanye West’s love-hate relationship with the fashion industry has become one of the temperamental rapper’s undeniable trademarks. His struggle to be recognized and respected as a fashion designer provides perpetual fodder for his famous rants; however, his forays into fashion began far before Yeezy Boosts or even his notorious Red Octobers were conceptualized.
When Kanye entered the music scene, his prep-luxe taste and affinity for Ralph Lauren became points of reference for everyone, especially himself (seriously, every album since The College Dropout includes some line about pink polos and Louis Vuitton backpacks); his style played a huge role in solidifying his identity in pop culture, with Jesus-pieces and furs becoming just as much a part of his M.O. as his outspoken persona, dexterous production, and tongue-in-cheek bars.
Later, his penchant for flashy luxury logos and equally enthusiastic name-dropping in his raps about Versace, Gucci, and of course, LV, rightfully earned him the self-proclaimed title of “Louis Vuitton Don” — a title that seemed more than appropriate in 2009, when he debuted a sneaker collection with the luxury brand.
Kanye’s run on the fashion circuit soon changed from consumer and front row staple to designer, as took his talents to womenswear with the debut of DW by Kanye West at Paris Fashion Week to very mixed reviews. His personal style changed as well, with a tendency towards elevated minimalism, muted colors, and athleisure. A few years later, the arrival of his Yeezy x Adidas Originals collections made a million fuccbois’ dreams come true, despite the indifference (and in some cases, disapproval) of most of the fashion industry.
But throughout it all, Kanye’s has always had a lot to say about his personal style, most of which he’s relayed through his music. Although his tweets might have been what’s on everyone’s minds in recent weeks, we’ve broken down the evolution of Kanye’s style through his albums and lyrics throughout the years.