kanye west new york times

Not many pen profiles on Kanye West better than Jon Caramanica. Two years after capturing his maniacal musical genius, Caramanica interviewed West once more for The New York Times‘ T Magazine around his Yeezy Season 1 showcase at New York Fashion Week back in February. Even while the world patiently waits on the imminent release of Kanye’s seventh solo album, the focus of the conversation was not on music, but on his surging career in fashion.

Check out the 10 biggest revelations from the piece below…

1. He’s got the Ralph Lauren co-sign:

In a widely circulated photo of the two men meeting, Lauren has placed his hand gently on West’s cheek. “Do you know what he said when he did that? ‘This is my son,’ ” West said. “And I was thinking, ‘I knew it! I knew Ralph was my daddy!’”

2. He put himself in debt to fund his first women’s collections:

His poorly received ready-to-wear women’s collections were paid for completely out of pocket, which he says put him in debt. “I gained because I had the privilege to be educated,” he now says. “I had enough of a value to be able to go into debt, and that was a blessing. Some people don’t even have the opportunity to be able to go into debt.”

3. The artwork for his next single takes a shot at Hedi Slimane:

In 2012, when the designer Hedi Slimane reportedly said West could only attend his first runway show for Saint Laurent and no others at Paris Fashion Week — a fairly standard request — West took offense and said so, openly and repeatedly; the two still don’t speak. “I’m not angry anymore,” West said, “but I had to get my anger out.” A few moments later, he pulls up a potential cover image for a forthcoming single: It’s a photo of the Saint Laurent store in Chicago after it was robbed last year, its front window shattered, the logo fractured.

4. He has regular communication with an anger management specialist:

“I feel like now I have an amazing wife, a supersmart child and the opportunity to create in two major fields,” he said. “Before I had those outlets, my ego was all I had.” But he also speaks “all the time” to a doctor who specializes in anger management therapy, a fortuitous byproduct of an altercation with a paparazzo at Los Angeles International Airport.

5. His expensive wardrobe is purely for research purposes:

Lately, that’s often been a velour sweatshirt by Haider Ackermann (retail price: $768), topped with a modified MA-1 bomber jacket by Takahiro Miyashita ($1,778). This is not, West clarifies, the level of affordability he’s striving for in the clothes he’s making. He claims that he’s not wearing luxury for luxury’s sake but rather as a form of research. “There’s a transition,” he says. “I need to partake in what’s of value and of quality and soul in order to understand it, in order to give it back.”

6. As a kid he cried over wanting to have his own clothes store:

“I dreamed, since I was a little kid, of having my own store where I could curate every shoe, sweatshirt and color,” he said. “I have sketches of it. I cried over the idea of having my own store.”

7. He has ambitions of building the new Rome, sartorially speaking:

“It’s literally like… I know this is really harsh, but it’s like Before Yeezy and After Yeezy,” West said. “This is the new Rome!” He was referring to his thunderous arrival in the fashion world, to his oft-mocked bid not merely to design clothes but to build, in his words, “the biggest apparel company in human history.”

8. He wants to bring higher quality to the masses — just like he did with music:

“Before the Internet, music was really expensive. People would use a rack of CDs to show class, to show they had made it,” West said at one point. “Right now, people use clothes to telegraph that. I want to destroy that. The very thing that supposedly made me special — the jacket that no one could get, the direct communications with the designers — I want to give that to the world.”

9. He’s trying to lose his ego:

“I have this table in my new house,” West said, offering a parable. “They put this table in without asking. It was some weird nouveau riche marble table, and I hated it. But it was literally so heavy that it took a crane to move it. We would try to set up different things around it, but it never really worked.

“I realized that table was my ego. No matter what you put around it, under it, no matter who photographed it, the douchebaggery would always come through.”

10. He views himself as more than just a celebrity:

“I’m not a celebrity, I’m an activist,” he says. “The fact that when I see truth it’s really hard for me to sit back and just allow it to happen in front of me on my clock makes me, a lot of times, a bad celebrity.”

Read the full piece here.

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