There’s something to say about the influx of basics on the runway these past few seasons, and even more to say about the price you pay for high-end jersey creations.
Yeezy Season 1 show, New-York
When Kanye West previewed his Yeezy season three collection over Twitter on Wednesday, we were almost fooled into thinking he was veering away from his dystopian-inspired basics and venturing into a world of deluxe craftsmanship fueled by an excessive amount of diamante and pearl paillettes that he labelled “Wifey Look.” Unsurprisingly, that preview was an exclusive collaboration with Balmain that was spotted on the Kardashian clan during his 90-minute presentation on Thursday.
Une photo publiée par Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) le 11 Févr. 2016 à 18h44 PST
The adidas and Yeezy collaboration was as expected – a continuation of outsized and destroyed basics with a slightly athletic sensibility. And while the hype may still have legs to carry his fashion line into the future, the price point definitely doesn’t. $2,501 will you get you a destroyed wool sweater, all black, nothing on it. And for $495 a plain cotton-jersey t-shirt is all yours. Online retailers such as My Theresa, LUISAVIAROMA, Mr. Porter, and SSENSE stock a hefty selection of the Yeezy assortment, but Barneys, who were the first retailer to announce that they would be carrying the collection since its inception, is currently showing zero inventory.
Naomi Campbell striking the pose at Madison Square Garden in New-York for Yeezy Season 3
Kanye’s influence is undeniable, especially after peering at the growing line of Yeezy enthusiasts who were queuing for a piece of merchandise before, during, and post his Fall/Winter 2016 show at Madison Square Garden. It’s hard to imagine that he filled the stadium with 20,000 people – a mix of fans, fashion editors, favored buyers, and, of course, his family – and even harder to believe that over 20 million people tuned in to watch the live stream via Jay Z’s music streaming service, Tidal. But that’s the power of Kanye.
Looks from the Yeezy Season 3 collection
Despite his lack of aesthetic or conceptual progression, Kanye has managed to create a high-end industry where basics are becoming the status quo, from not only a ready-to-wear point of view, but also for America’s mass market. Analytics, as reported by WGSN’s Instock, show that jersey items such as the cropped top, for example, has increased by 67% year-on-year for pre-fall 2016 collections, while the t-shirt highlighted a 6% YOY increase. There’s no denying basic dressing has been winning at retail for a while (thank you Normcore!) but its introduction on a high-end scale is relatively new, especially as jersey is technically limiting and fashion week is all about celebrating craftsmanship.
Yeezy Season 1 show, New-York
Sarah Owen is an Editor at trend forecasting agency WGSN reporting on youth trends from a runway, retail, street, and cultural point of view.