In August 2007, Kanye West launched his blog Kanyeuniversecity.com. In the three years that it existed, the site was a hub for the rapper's inspirations. It was updated almost daily with whatever it was Kanye was interested in at the time. His writings and musings covered everything from the Souls of Mischief's classic '93 Til Infinity to artists, gold plated toilets, and high-fashion labels.
It was incredible.
On the fashion front, Kanye flexed his knowledge in a way that no other rapper or celebrity was doing back then, and no public figure is doing today. He wrote about collections and shared photos from the fashion shows he attended. He broke down individual products that resonated with him. He even had a reoccurring franchise called "Designer of the Week," where he'd highlight both famous and lesser-known fashion designers he admired, such as Patrik Ervell. The blog reflected just how deeply absorbed he was in the fashion world.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the site was Kanye's knack of trend forecasting. He championed emerging designers, obscure Japanese brands, and high-fashion labels that, while successful and famous today, were seldom heard of back then—especially in hip-hop.
For example, on Sept. 30, 2007, Kanye wrote about a pair of visvim sneakers. visvim may be one of the most celebrated Japanese brands now, sure, but back then few, if any, rappers or celebs knew about designer Hiroshi Nakamura's genius. In the months and years that followed, he co-signed Neighborhood, Junya Watanabe Man, and Uniform Experiment, names that are familiar only to heads that are deeply passionate enough about the game to celebrate small, niche Japanese labels.
On top of that, no other rapper was personally co-signing Public School, Thom Browne, Bottega Veneta, and Gareth Pugh—especially not in 2007 and 2008. A dig into the archives quickly proves that Kanye knew of labels and brands that would later become some of the most popular in hip-hop. Tom Ford. Yves Saint Laurent (now Saint Laurent Paris). Maison Martin Margiela. Givenchy. Balenciaga. Acne. Before these labels were household names in lyrics, Yeezy was geeking out over them all.
It doesn't take a fan to realize that Kanye was ahead of his time and his peers when it came to fashion. Everyone knows now that Ye is heavily into fashion, but to those who doubt his genuine commitment and ardor to this pursuit, one look through A History of Brands Kanye Gave Early Co-Signs to on His Blog might change some minds.