On this day, July 17, 2014, Kanye West's deep and fickle relationship with the fashion industry begat another child. It was christened "A.P.C. Kanye," and it was a joyful but solemn day for it was the rapper's second and final collaboration with the super awesome French brand.
We headed down to A.P.C.'s Mercer Street location shortly before it opened to see what the New Yorkers eagerly awaiting the collection's arrival had to say about it.
Some Supreme drops have sneaker aficionados waiting three consecutive nights to get their hands on the goods. A fashion heavyweight designing a one-off collection for H&M can elicit feeding frenzies as shoppers try to snatch up as much product as possible.
This was not that.
A 20-person line had formed before the doors opened at 11 a.m., and we learned that some shoppers were significantly more aggressive than others. Renee, 19, secured the first spot in line by putting his lawn chair down at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Brothers Navar and Jesus, 26 and 20, arrived next, at 11:30 p.m., and everyone that followed arrived Thursday morning: at 6 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:15, ten, fifteen minutes ago. More power to the diehard fans, but an overnighter probably wasn't necessary.
After polling 17 of the people in line, here's what we found out.
They came for the jeans.
The most hyped pieces in this collection were the knit ski mask and the alpaca-merino wool Airport sweater, but denim was the main draw for the early birds. Renee, the first to exit the store, snapped up the Kanye Jeans in both off-white and blue, along with the low-riding (and awesome) oiled cotton Biker Pants. Willy, 16, bought a t-shirt and a second pair of the jeans he had purchased from Kanye's first collection. They're more expensive than most jeans, he said, but he still bought them.
If you have to have something from the Kanye collection, denim is probably the best option if you're comparing price against value. $100 for a t-shirt is overpriced and it's tough for most people to justify a $2,865 (or even $1,015) fur-trimmed parka, but $280 jeans aren't out of the question if you're already an A.P.C. customer.
Plus, as 27-year-old A.J. explained to me, denim is an under-the-radar way to rep the collaboration. “That’s a bonus, that it’s an anonymous item. It’s not a scene if you wear it. It’s not like you’re trying to emulate Kanye [as you might seem] if you’re wearing the ski mask," he says.
It runs large.
Known fact. That's why a few of the guys in line were there, as opposed to buying online: To make sure they got the right fit.
It's less street wear, more understatement.
“It was very different from first collection," A.J. notes. "The first collection was much more street wear-friendly with the hoodies and long t-shirts and stuff. This was leaning more toward the A.P.C. aesthetic.”
It's true, and it's representative of Kanye's own style evolution. Michael, 24, points out that Kanye wins at keeping his looks simultaneously inventive and simple.
“I think [the collection] was a good move for him because he’s trying to establish himself as more of a fashion designer as opposed to ‘I make graphic t-shirts or sneakers,'" A.J. adds. "I guess it’ll be a stepping stone to him doing full collections.”
Speaking of, a number of guys in line expressed sympathy for West's high-end womenswear effort and it's negative reception by critics.
“I think that was his first real attempt at going public with design. I feel like he was judged harshly," Navar says. "I think if he’d done a men’s line off the bat, he might have gotten less judgment.”
It works for the ladies, too.
Man jeans fit weird on lady butts, but that doesn't mean you can't shop Kanye A.P.C., too. Angie, a cancer researcher who has a taste for menswear and had a day off (BABE ALERT), said she was excited to check out the plain t-shirts and possibly nab fur-lined coat for fall.
It's a good collection. Frankly, Angie, we might have to follow suit.