Why I’m Over The Yeezyfication of Menswear

I’ve officially had it. I’ve grown tired of something that I always thought I would hold dear; not bread. Though I am struggling to cut down my wheat intake on Slimming World. No. Instead of sweet, delicious, always there for me bread, I’ve grown tired of leisurewear. I’ve become sick of what started out as an ingenious approach to content and form, and what has become a generally dull and talentless trend for lazy dressers.

I read an article once that said that Yeezy, the fashion range spear headed by one time rapper Kanye West, was the only real true definition of ‘gender neutral fashion.’ And, I’ll be honest, I had to put my iPad down and take a few deep breaths because I was starting to hyperventilate. The only thing any of the Yeezy seasons are the true definition of is that luxury fashion should be abolished and replaced with ranges that are acceptable to all; not just the mega rich and deluded.

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Yes, it might be the closest that we ever get to a traditional gender neutral clothing range, but at what cost? If you want to look like one of the final members of the human race, stranded on Jupiter as the Sun collapses into itself and humanity blinks out of existence; not with a fanfare, but with a whimper then by all means go ahead, but I like to look like I’ve not gave up on mankind just yet. (You can find a good look at what gender neutral fashion should be at The Malcontent btw.)

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Luxury fashion has always been a little bit bonkers. Just look at the majority of Balmain’s output. Remember Gisele sporting that bra made of feathers in 1999? You couldn’t go down to the shops in that. You couldn’t even go out in it because it’s far too cold. Where luxury fashion falls down is the end use. It’s all well and good creating inventive and ground breaking ways to displays scales, or checks, but what’s the point if no one can actually wear it? Or afford it.

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Unfortunately West hasn’t even dipped his toe into luxury fashion, he’s jumped in with two feet firmly splashing around soaking pedestrians who only want to get their copy of Heat and a Mars bar before the gruelling jobs we all go to. With the launch of Yeezy Season 1, West told buyers that they would have to shell out $1750 for a jacket. Admittedly, as we trudge into Season 4, prices have dropped significantly to around the three digit dollar figures, it’s still absolutely crazy to expect people to pay $200 for a t-shirt. And people do pay because anything to do with Kardashian family sells out within seconds, but that’s a story for another time.

But this isn’t really where my issue lies with Yeezy. My issue lies solely with the poor High Street imitations that are being pumped out day after day. Some are appropriate; Topman’s for instance has a sense of authenticity behind it because, as a brand, Topman has long been the boundary breakers of what’s acceptable on the High Street and what hasn’t; put simply, it makes sense to that customer. Even H&M, who have worked with different textures for seasons now, have put their own spin on the athleisure upgrade, and that makes sense because of their European influences and youth-focused customer.

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What doesn’t make sense is brands like Next and Burton filling their shops with dull and washed out neutrals in shape distorting hoodies and skinny joggers with shiny tuxedo stripes down the leg. Who are they hoping to convince to buy those? Who’s going to be peacocking around your town centre with sludge coloured trousers, bragging about how they’re from Next? The only person who would do that is your Dad, and that’s because he’s only bought them because he wants them to laze around in, not because he understands the trend that it is hoping to achieve. It’s baffling to the point of irritation.

Because brands like Next and Burton have revealed a range of athleisure, not only does it dilute the luxurious and exclusive appeal, but it also pokes holes in the theory behind it, and in Yeezys case, those holes are in the jumper sleeves because of the post-apocalyptic appeal. Such holes as the simplicity behind it: if you can wear any piece with any piece, it’s basically just a jigsaw that anyone can take part in. And where’s the creativity in that? There’s no effort in it, and the more people are wearing the exact same thing, the duller fashion will become. Especially if brand names are the most popular way of showing off who you are, you don’t want to look everyone else. There’s only so many versions of skinny jogging bottoms, t-shirt, and bomber jacket I can see without wanting to scream into a tweed waistcoat.

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