This is Cassius Clay (not to be confused with the boxer who became Muhammed Ali--Ali was named after Clay's ancestor, the 19th century abolitionist and politician of the same name..really). He went to fancy prep school at Phillips Academy in Andover and then to Yale and then one day last summer when he was shopping at Barneys his get up caught the eye of Kanye and the rest is history. Clay took a leave from Yale to become Yeezy's personal stylist and creative consultant.
Clay's remarkable story warranted a piece in the NY Post a few months ago, but the paper never managed to get a quote from Clay himself. Leave it the folks at Opening Ceremony to snag an interview with the mysterious college sophomore behind the rapper who loves fashion so much it "breaks his heart."
Here are the best bits--it's almost too good to be true:
What were you wearing at the age of 10? My school had a dress code of khakis with collared shirts for the younger boys. Dissatisfied with the informality of khakis, I adopted a personal uniform of exclusively white turtlenecks, grey flannel trousers, and black & white spectator shoes. I look back on it now as a dedicated engagement with minimalism (and self-caricature). Occasionally on weekends at home I would pretend to be a pharaoh with amulet and scepter.
What makes the perfect look for you? An external reflection of personality that admits both reality and imagination. I haven't decided whether enthusiastic matching or dramatic juxtaposition is more contrived – or if that self-awareness is necessarily a bad thing – but both are to be respected for the thought that goes into them. Comfort is indulgent and ultimately forgettable.
What is one thing in the world that everyone should try? Ideally: the epautre risotto at Taillevent in Paris. Practically: taking one's jeans to a tailor.
Oh and last one, he wants to be an editor. Sigh.
How would you have answered the question "what do you want to be when you grow up" six months ago, five years ago and today? Five years ago: to be taller than my brothers; a diplomat. Six months ago: to be an art scholar or critic. Today: to be an editor, a collector, or a museum curator.
Read the full interview plus photos of this incredible/ridiculous character here.