Friday 29 November 2013

Kanye West Admits $13 Million Loss on Fashion Industry

Kanye West's recent radio interview on 'Sway in the Morning' sparked some controversy regarding his aggressiveness on the topic of fashion. 

When asked, "Why don't you do it yourself?" (regarding the self-production of a clothing line), Kanye repeatedly yelled "You ain't got the answers Sway!". Clearly, frustration built up and I believe it was quite ignorant of Sway to ask Kanye why he couldn't just start from scratch and build a whole empire in fashion by himself. The whole interview was a little bit too ignorant for my liking. Kanye is a talented and knowledgeable rapper, but even his knowledge wouldn't be sufficient enough to run a whole brand. Think about the aspects behind it all. Design, production, finances, marketing. The list goes on.

When I look at Kanye, I see somebody who doesn't want to restrict themselves to one career. He wants to be wholly involved in any aspect of the arts that allows him to express his creativity. As a rapper, Kanye is going to be looked at as a monetary idol in the fashion industry. His "relevancy", as he puts it, can sell millions. However, Kanye is not a full-time designer. He simply cannot put in all his energy into a fashion line. $13 million is what it took for Kanye to invest in his designs and try to conquer the industry.

I believe Kanye has the creative mindset to produce a killer line. I really do. I admire the passion he brings to the table when discussing fashion. He knows what he's talking about and I can see him going far, bringing uniqueness and originality to the forefront of his designs. I think he does need to understand that as a musician, the larger corporations are always going to "marginalise" him. Any brand within LVMH that works with him will probably not meet his expectations. Kanye wants to be the supreme ruler and have the utmost control over decisions but that's simply not going to happen.

What I'd like to see is a Kanye x Margiela collaboration. Now that would make fashion history.

Consistency is needed for Kanye to become a well-established name in fashion. When he debuted his Spring 2012 RTW collection, I was actually rather impressed. I loved the combination of the rough beats on the catwalk combined with a raw, powerful aesthetic. The clothes were heavy. Leather, fur and lots of glamour.

Daring cuts and random splashes of colour. Did some of the looks look too unpolished? Yes. He wasn't going to get it all right in the first go but if he finds a way to balance his ego with the industry, we could potentially be looking at some genius pieces in the future.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Styled to Rock US: Rihanna Goes Stateside!

When the news broke that Rihanna was launching a reality TV show for upcoming designers, I almost wanted to slap myself to make sure I was reading correctly.

I was an avid fan of the Sky One series, featuring the beloved Henry Holland. What I admired most about the show was the feeling of authenticity displayed throughout the storyline of pressured designers struggling to beat the clock and conquer their inner fears.

There's definitely something special about Styled to Rock... it doesn't rely on heavily-scripted dialogue and focuses more on the natural occurrence of events in the design room. My initial reaction to hearing that a US version of Styled to Rock was in production? I thought it was going to be fake, fake and more fake. I don't know about you but in my opinion, US-produced reality shows have never given me a particularly "real" vibe and I know a lot about reality television. Thankfully, I was proved wrong. Yes, the budget for this series definitely seems to be (cough) a lot higher than the UK series, yet the overall structure and feel of the show is almost the same, if not a lot more realistic.

Pharrell Williams, Erin Wasson and Mel Ottenberg are the main panelists. What a genius collaboration. With Pharrell's down-to-Earth personality and compassionate advice, the dynamic between the contestants and panelists is definitely more positive. Mel and Erin believe in tough love. Understandable considering these contestants entered the competition to grasp the cut-throat nature of the industry.

With the prize of $100,000 and a contract to be part of Rihanna's style team at stake, seeing these ordinary people compete to fulfil their dream is heartening. To see raw talent manifest itself into beautiful designs worn by upscale celebrity clients is 100% worth watching.

One of my favourites is Sergio. A contestant who was actually entered late in the competition but proved his unbeatable skill by winning two challenges in a row. In the latest episode, his design for Miley Cyrus was absolutely gorgeous. The combination of a floaty, white blouse compared with a rough, biker-chic patent leather skirt fit the brief incredibly well. You could see where Hollywood met downtown club.

Another talented favourite of mine is Autumn. Her motif whilst designing is her unconventional use of zippers. I wish I could have included images of her work but surprisingly, they don't seem to be posted anywhere! She hasn't won a challenge yet but her vision is so inspiring to me. The way she takes a minor detail such as a zip and uses it to replace hemlines or normal forms of stitching creates a beautiful aesthetic.

Styled to Rock US airs on Bravo TV at 8/7c on Fridays. If you're not in the US, I'd suggest watching the episodes on