When it comes to fashion, Mr. West has had quite the journey. From his namesake label in the early 2010s to the launch of YEEZY SZN, Ye’s been decorating the fashion industry with his unique designs and skillful eye. Lately, however, his innovativeness seems to come with an added side of controversary free of charge.

On August 12th, the rapper/designer took a brief hiatus from his social media hiatus to share his ultimate inspiration. Ruining his Instagram streak of 0 posts in however long, Ye shared a screenshot of a Notes app message stating: “Look to the children / Look to the homeless / As the biggest inspiration for all design”

An incredibly odd statement to make when you consider the state of homelessness juxtaposed with clothing that isn’t available for the homeless or even affordable for lower-income individuals, but I digress. This line of thinking, like most of Ye’s thoughts these days, was immediately met with backlash. Once again, Ye spoke, and social media lit up from Instagram to Twitter with a few strong words about his thoughts.

Some experienced a full circle moment, claiming that Ye’s keen interest in the homeless explains the extremely normcore aesthetic of the YEEZY brand. Despite his candid remarks on who inspires him, nothing could have prepared us for the presentation of his latest drop.

Exhausting the full potential of his inspiration, Ye had YZY GAP made exclusively shoppable via large black unstructured bags and dumpsters. Twitter user Owen Lang noted that assistance from sales associates was forbidden, further drilling in his inspiration as customers had to dumpster dive and rummage through the bags to find the appropariate sizing or styles.

The obvious backlash has since landed Ye on Fox News, where he defended the presentation of his pieces and, in typical Ye fashion, remained unapologetic about the execution of his collection.

According to the innovator, YZY GAP is here to challenge traditionalism and the usual pretentiousness found in fashion. Somehow placing $240 hoodies in dumpsters for the more economically privileged seems…a little pretentious.

You simply can’t deny Ye’s talent or history of successful designs, before and after the YEEZY conglomerate, but with a statement so bold, it only makes sense that he might also give back to the community that inspires him so much.

In 2020, it was reported that YEEZY would develop YZY SHLTRS. Affordable housing designed in a futuristic dome shape for those in need. The only prototypes of the YEEZY home structures were set up in Calabasas, CA but destroyed shortly after. Since then, no reports on postponing the project or reconstruction have been made.
Kanye also sat down with Reverend Troy Vaughn, CEO and president of the LA Mission, to share even more ideas on how YEEZY can use design to aid the homeless and give back. This led to the YZY GAP x Skid Row rumours that began early this year. However, it was quickly realized that the collab was entirely made up by one cheeky scammer looking for a come up off the backs of YEEZY stans.

Yet, in the wake of controversy and the consistent backlash, YEEZY nor GAP have come forward with any initiatives targeting homelessness, but who’s to say such initiatives aren’t in the works? With surprise drops and Kanye generally never providing a dull moment, there could be some behind-the-scenes philanthropy we know nothing about.

Kanye did quietly donate $2 million to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor in the summer of 2020, in addition to donating to various Black businesses.

Kanye did quietly donate $2 million to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor in the summer of 2020, in addition to donating to various Black businesses.

However, even with such good deeds on his resume, you can’t ignore the double whammy that is publically stating the homeless as inspiration and then displaying the collection in a way that is both on the nose and tongue-in-cheek.

People have argued that trash bag diving at YZY GAP is no different from rummaging through the dollar bin at a thrift store. However, it feels alot different when the clothes aren’t preworn or owned, aren’t priced as if they were thrift finds, and are influenced by a community that cannot afford the pieces or much of anything at all.

Until this artistic display is fully developed in a way that benefits the inspiration and the inspired, it will just seem like another form of social cosplay for the priveledged. Which then leaves you wondering who is YZY GAP for and what is the art really saying?