Mere mention of the name Kanye West initiates a serious case of the eye-rolls amongst most people. He seems to be wildly unpopular, having built a reputation as an overly aggressive, critical, and downright rude person with wildly unpopular opinions. Ever since he first interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, it’s all been downhill from there.
But I’m here to offer what might be considered another wildly unpopular opinion: Kanye West is not overly aggressive, critical, or rude—he’s just a person with opinions, very passionate opinions, and no real desire to filter them. And why should he? If we were as famous as Kanye West, I can pretty much guarantee we would all want to use our fame as a platform for our beliefs. That’s all he’s doing, and he gets way more flak than he deserves.
Allow me to explain. Keep scrolling to see three reasons why I think it’s time we should all start taking Kanye West a lot more seriously than we do.
As much as I’d like to believe that Kim helmed her own sartorial makeover, I think it’s time to acknowledge Kanye West’s part in it. Kardashian herself has talked about how much his influence has changed her style—and recently, West called Kardashian his “fashion muse.” It’s clear he’s had a direct impact on how stylish Kim Kardashian has become—he took her from reality star to total fashion icon, dressed in every couture house from Givenchy to Balmain to Lanvin. That’s no small feat.
No matter how hard West might try to appear in the public eye—how impenetrable, aggressive, and staunch—I maintain that underneath it all, he’s an incredibly sensitive artist. In a recent interview with Vogue's André Leon Talley, West said, "I feel like a human being, like a man. A man makes mistakes, a man can have an opinion, a man can be hypocritical. I feel like my blood hasn't been turned cold by the concept of celebrity."
And in his recent interview with Style.com, he mused, "I'm only concerned with making beautiful products available to as many people as possible. The least I could do is spend my time trying to give other people a piece of the so-called good life. Everyone should have the good life."
Regardless of whether or not Kanye West will achieve more success as a designer, the fashion world would benefit from listening to what he has to say. He is opening up conversations about some very important and relevant issues: The role of race in the industry, the increasingly prominent, but also detrimental role of fame in fashion, and the democratization of high-end fashion. The things West is saying aren’t really being said by anyone else, and they are things the fashion world needs to hear—because as we’ve seen with issues like plus-sizing, wearable tech, and social media, the fashion world is often slow on the uptake. We need voices like West’s to help propel us into the future.
Do you agree that it’s time to start listening to what Kanye West has to say? Tell us in the comments below!