The time has come to "design cities," Kanye West says.
That forecasting is among the aspirations tucked into a new interview from writer Killian Wright Jackson and editor Jessica Kantor of LALA magazine, who spoke to West for a cover feature titled "The Legacy of Kanye West" as part of the publication's special Impact Issue.
"When I wanted to get into fashion, everyone would bring up The Row and how they started with T-shirts. I didn’t want to start with a T-shirt," West, per an excerpt from the interview given to Complex, recalled of his entry into the fashion zeitgeist. "I love merch, but we did merch as a punk answer to us being told we can’t work at Louis Vuitton, Versace, Nike. Merch started as one of the only things we could control. When we did our first fashion show, in crocodile and all these exotic fabrics, there was just a block, like, ‘No, you can’t get in. No, you can’t be involved with this.’ Somehow, I actually had to go back and start with a T-shirt."
From there, West connected the idea of the T-shirt to a larger assessment of his own personal creative goals for the years ahead, i.e. an impending era we recently learned may boast a Dre x 'Ye collab project.
"I think we can break the class system," West said of his aim for fashion moving forward. "This sweatshirt is the blank that we used for merch. In the setting, it feels very elegant, but it’s a very simple cut design—all of the energy and ingenuity. It’s so much time that went into finding the simplest version." Doing so, however, is simply the artist's responsibility to their audience.
"That’s what artists do; they take everything that’s happening in life and sometimes encapsulate it into an hour and a half of Eddie Murphy on stage, or Dave Chappelle, or 16 bars inside of a verse, or the cut of a sweatshirt or a boot," West said.
Referencing his recent experiments in the world of opera, West said projects of that scope are what he's meant to do, more so than merely merch-reviving designs.
“I didn’t come in to make merch. I came in to make operas,” he said. “That’s no knock to merch and no knock to T-shirts, but now it’s time to change the architecture. It’s time to design cities.” The interview, which boasts photography by Jackie Nickerson, also sees West stating that his water and wind-powered concept homes for the displaced are "very close" to being made available.
For more info on the LALA piece, click here.
Last month, West's Sunday Service Choir released their debut album Jesus Is Born, a companion piece to West's own Jesus Is King.