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The CFDA Is Taking a Stand Against Kanye West [Updated]

Once again, West did not get approval for his New York Fashion Week time slot, and CFDA President Steven Kolb doesn't think the industry should tolerate it.
Kanye West visiting Trump Tower. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Kanye West visiting Trump Tower. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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On Tuesday, with little fanfare, it was discovered that Kanye West would indeed be presenting Yeezy Season 5 during New York Fashion Week. As West tends to do, he picked his time slot with little-to-no consideration for who was already on the schedule: This time, he picked 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, the same time as Marchesa (who has dressed his wife Kim Kardashian a number of times and at whose show West once sat front row). 

It's far from uncommon for time slots at NYFW to be packed with two or three conflicting shows. But of course, the CFDA works with its designers to prevent things like this from happening — and, as is his wont, West skirted the system altogether. "Once again, CFDA was not approached or consulted about the possibility of Kanye West showing on the official New York Fashion Week schedule," CFDA CEO Steven Kolb says in a statement to WWD. "Not going through the proper channels is disruptive to the whole week and unfair to designers who have secured spots through the formal procedure." And he doesn't think we should put up with it: "This bad behavior is not acceptable to the CFDA and should not be tolerated by the industry."

Kolb's statement goes on to say that the CFDA will not add Yeezy Season 5 to its official schedule, but adds the organization is willing to work with West to secure a better time slot. And the industry has reason to be upset: Last season, West infamously held most of the major fashion players captive for over five hours for his disastrous Yeezy Season 4 presentation on Roosevelt Island. Yeezy Season 3 doubled as an hours-long album listening party at Madison Square Garden. In addition to showing during Marchesa's planned slot, other designers who risk being upstaged by West that evening, depending on how long his show runs, include Anna Sui at 4 p.m., Thom Browne at 6 p.m. and Ralph Lauren at 8:30 p.m.

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West doesn't discriminate between emerging and established designers when he picks his time slots, either: Yeezy Season 4 overshadowed the Parsons MFA fashion show; Marissa Webb and Adam Selman rescheduled their runways to avoid conflict with Yeezy Season 3; Yeezy Season 2 was scheduled at the same time as then-new streetwear designer Anne Bowen, prompting another scolding from Kolb. "The first I heard about the Kanye show was what I read in the Post," he told WWD. "There was no listing on the Fashion Calendar, and we didn't know about it. We can't avoid conflicts unless we know someone's doing it."

If Kanye West wants the approval of the fashion industry — and truly, by all accounts and rants, he does — he should start by respecting their time and not thinking he is too good for the calendar.

UPDATE, Feb. 2, 2017, 9:30 p.m.: Well, that was resolved quickly. WWD reports that Kanye West has decided to reschedule his Yeezy Season 5 show two hours earlier at 3 p.m. Its planned location still remains and there are no other conflicting shows currently scheduled — aside from the possibility of late arrivals to Anna Sui at 4 p.m.

"Kanye called me personally to let me know that he had no intention of showing on top of another designer, and was unaware that there was a conflict. He explained that once he realized Marchesa was in the time slot, he immediately looked at alternative options," said Kolb in a statement to WWD

Yeezy Season 5 still appears to be excluded from the CFDA's official New York Fashion Week calendar for this coming season. Adds Kolb, "The CFDA appreciates Kanye's outreach and effort, and we look forward to working with him far in advance to integrate Yeezy into the schedule in seasons to come."

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