With the release of Jesus Is King less than 12 hours away, Kanye West is making the promo rounds which included a visit with Zane Lowe in Wyoming this week. Currently premiering on Beats 1 Radio, the interview has thus far seen West share his views on everything from banning premarital sex amongst those who worked on the new album to his journey from purveyor of high fashion to one of Christianity. He also touched on Yeezy footwear and apparel manufacturing and why moving production to America is a priority.
"For me, as a founder, it’s really important to bring these jobs back to America," West said. Within the next two years, he plans to make Yeezys and "injection molded shoes" in U.S. factories as well as hire workers through prison reform systems.
Along with bolstering the American economy, West says moving manufacturing closer to home will allow for more control over his product. He specifically cited the delayed development of a motorcycle boot which is reminiscent of a new design from Balenciaga—something which has happened before when the Yeezy Boost 700 was produced around the same time as the Triple S. Making the shoes in America would allow for what West describes as "rapid prototyping" and the ability to push product out faster.
This isn't the first time West has voiced these desires for the Yeezy brand. Last year, he spoke with paparazzi about his talks with Adidas to bring factories to Chicago. Days later, West infamously met with President Donald Trump in the White House, where he again discussed American manufacturing and prison reform.
West also touched on his competition in the fashion space. "Yeezy is still the number one searched brand on the planet," West said, presumably referring to The RealReal's 2019 Resale Report—although the exact lineup is a bit different. "Number one Yeezy, number two Off-White, three Adidas, and the other three is like Adidas, Nike, Louis Vuitton. Number one was Weezy and all the other ones are closely associated in some way. Every one of these founders has to look at me eye-to-eye."
Louis Vuitton came up again later in the conversation, when West called chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault his "new Drake," a reference to his on-again-off-again feud with the Canadian rapper. West said Arnault's appointment of Virgil Abloh as the brand's men's director left him feeling envious. "I felt like it was supposed to be me. I was the Louis Vuitton Don," West said.
Later, when discussing his move to Adidas in 2013, West joked that Nike employees formed the "Anti-Kanye Kanye Club" in retaliation.