In honor of his birthday, we are highlighting Kanye West and his style evolution throughout the 2000s:
Aside from his controversial moments on Twitter and in politics, it is no denying that Kanye West’s style is one that has kept the industry on its toes. From polos to Yeezy, Kanye West has come a long way. Looking back on his path in terms of fashion, his contribution to trends is undeniable.
We all got to know the rapper when he first stepped in the spotlight back in 2004 with the release of his debut album, The College Dropout. This era was all about preppy style, lots of Ralph Lauren polos and sweaters. His college boy aesthetic was updated in the following year — now featuring suits, turtlenecks and a pastel color palette — as West released his second studio album Late Registration.
At the 2006 Grammys, his style began to transition and it was clear something bigger and louder was coming. Graduation came out in 2007 and Kanye jumped on his most futuristic era so far. Shutter shades, graphic tees, LED technology… All courtesy of Mr. West.
On the following year, it all switched up once again and we all got to see a more refined version of his wardrobe. With the release of 808s & Heartbreaks, Kanye’s aesthetic got bold and dapper at the same time. It was all about the “Louis Vuitton Don” and his signature “mullet” hairstyle.
His next album only came out in 2010, but 2009 was a controversial year marked by his MTV Video Music Award rant and his “bad boy” image. The My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy era was clearly influenced by that event and his fashion game reached another level. Red outfits, enormous gold jewelry and a demi-god mindset were the fuel to this extremely successful artistic concept.
How could we ever forget his Celine shirt on the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy tour? Or maybe his H&M x Versace jacket on the 2011 Victoria’s Secret fashion show? It was a great year in fashion for Kanye West and his fashion icon status was already set.
In 2012, as he recorded his next album Yeezus, all eyes were on the new “it” couple in town. Kanye and Kim Kardashian were seen out and about in perfectly coordinated outfits. The Yeezus tour gave us a glimpse of his streetwear aesthetic full of oversized pieces and Maison Margiela face masks.
Until his next album came out in 2016, Kanye continued to work on his streetstyle during 2014 and 2015. Ricardo Tisci’s Givenchy era was definitely a huge influence on his style back then.
His designer side also emerged as Yeezy Season 1 for adidas debuted in 2015 and it was an instant hit. The Life of Pablo came out in 2016 and his wardrobe was all about Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain signature heavy embroidery paired with classic casual pieces. Since then, Kanye’s work in fashion has walked side by side with his music.
His merch for Ye (2018) and Kids See Ghosts (2018) hit the streets and much of that DIY aesthetic ended up being a part of his Yeezy x Adidas drops.
The same thing happened in 2019 when Jesus Is King came out. The minimalist aesthetic was present in his Sunday Service performances and inevitably influenced his own brand.
Which Kanye West fashion era was your favorite?