Prepare Ye: Kanye West's 'ye' Merch Is About to Go Global

Before you know it, these hoodies and tees will be more ubiquitous than the infamous 'Pablo' gear.
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Last Thursday night, 400 people converged on Diamond Cross Ranch for what was thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attending a listening party for Kanye West's eighth studio album, "ye." Twenty-four hours later, many of them would be departing Wyoming wearing T-shirts and hoodies, given out as a part of the "ye" merch collection. And now, people in 90 cities around the world — Atlanta, London and Berlin among them — will get the chance to have a similar experience.

Early Wednesday morning, YesJulz, manager of "ye" breakout artist 070 Shake, face of Puma and social media influencer, tweeted out a teaser for events in Miami and Chicago happening that same night. Those events will take "Project Wyoming," the name West gave to his bonfire-centered listening party, on the road, bringing the experience to anyone who can land one of the coveted RSVP spots. The events were organized by Julz and her company 1AM —which does event production, execution and marketing in addition to artist management and development — as per a request from West on Friday

"Julz was out in Wyoming for a few weeks accompanying Shake and at the last minute got brought in to help facilitate [the listening party there]," Imani Simmons, director of operations for 1AM, told Fashionista. "I think Ye really liked the way she worked and that she got things done quickly, so he ended up calling her directly to ask if she would mind being on top of the rest of them. You don't say no to Kanye West, so after numerous calls with his teams, we started prepping Saturday."

That prep included using Julz's network from her background in party promotions to reach out to the likes of Tayler Nash, Irvin Benitez and Devin Cobbs in various cities to help with on-site logistics. Each will help to replicate the same vibe of the initial party, which boasted guests like Chris Rock, Jonah Hill and 2 Chainz, to take place "ideally in the next 15 days."

"There was VIP, there was fans, there was celebrity, there was press; it wasn't like suits and boring label people — no offense to them," Simmons said of the vibe. "Everyone was there to just appreciate the music. Everyone was together, and in some way the album is really about togetherness." 

But there was also the merchandise. Done in collaboration with Bravado, who has worked with artists like Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd and many more on their own merch collections, each city will sell between 400 and 500 pieces — specifically tees and hoodies. The top three cities (Miami, Chicago and New York) will get customized options that boast their names.

"We are waiting to hear back to see if we can get a few exclusive pieces for the other cities to say 'thank you' to the people who have really made this movement happen in those markets," Simmons said. All of the pieces are based on the merchandise originally given away in Jackson Hole (and later released online to purchase) featuring neutral colored tees with highlighter font on the sleeves. Sales of those pieces reportedly totaled $500,000 in just 30 minutes, according to West’s team.

But, as with anything Kanye West-related, tickets will be scarce. Teams are keeping the exact locations of the parties close to their chests, organizing shuttles and other modes of transport to the specific locations. Attendees must RSVP for tickets prior; Miami and Chicago sold out within minutes of release. Even the Brooklyn tickets are all accounted for, though they have yet to be released.

"People are really resourceful," Simmons explained. "They found [the Brooklyn link] before it was posted so that is currently already sold out. We are working on adding a few more tickets but there's already a waiting list of 6,000 people." But as with anything West-related, this all can change at any second. 

Homepage photo:  Kanye West performs during Kanye West Yeezy Season 3 on February 11, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3)

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