If you were able to make it to Kanye West’s Pablo pop-up shop this weekend, you might have come across some pieces you’ve never seen before. And that’s probably because they were bootleg.
You read right. The highly anticipated three-day event actually displayed knock-off merchandise on its racks … and West’s crew was completely cool with it.
Here’s how it all went down. After the first day of the pop-up shop, NYC designers Austin Butts and Jonah Levine decided to create a Pablo screen, and spent the next day screen printing random pieces in a Wooster Street studio right across from the actual pop-up. Butts, commonly known as Asspizza, told Complex via e-mail that he later went out on the street and started selling the pieces to people he knew in line.
“Any kid that knew me or what I was doing could buy something for like $20,” Butts explained. “So abunch [sic] of kids were wearing bootleg Asspizza Pablo merch on the street. Eventually Kanyes [sic] people inside the real pop-up caught on […] and they loved it.”
According to Levine, the team loved it so much that they agreed to give him and his partner some actual Pablo merch in exchange for some bootleg gear, which were eventually displayed in the store; however, neither of the designers could confirm the knockoffs were actually sold there.
Butts went on to explain how the stunt attracted a good amount of hate from Ye's fans, but he insists he had no bad intentions.
“I didn't do it to make money or to diss Kanye,” he says. “These bootleg shirts are waaay more special, thousands of kids copped the real merch. Only a few got Asspizza bootleg merch printed by fucking kids by hand [...] not some random guy you'll never meet.”