Why Ye (Kanye West)’s ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt causes a scandal at fashion week

Ye just presented his YZY SZN 9 collection on October 3, 2022 in Paris in front of the cream of the fashion industry, stunned by a t-shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter” claimed by white supremacists. A stylist who dared to criticize the gesture suffered a wave of cyberbullying from Ye and his army of followers. Summary and decryption.

How do you talk about your new collection hoping it gains visibility and sells even more? In the era of TikTok and Instagram, it is better to bet on a parade with impressive scenography, celebrities in the front row or even marching directly, or even on a scandal than high-quality clothing with bold designs with responsible and innovative ways . Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) chose the option of scandal to surprise present his new collection on October 3, 2022 in Paris.

The Ye (Evil) Surprise Show, formerly known as Kanye West

And what a surprise. The artist, now known more for his stormy divorce from Kim Kardashian than his music or fashion, is hard to follow has renamed its Yeezy brand to YZY. It wasn’t strictly a show, but more of an “experiment,” according to Ye, who showcased his ready-to-wear, which takes inspiration from the work of both designer Rick Owens and Demna Gvasalia (current Artistic Director of Balenciaga, with Ye recently worked in a trio with giant GAP).

The whole thing was presented to an influential audience (sitting on the floor…) made up notably of Anna Wintour, John Galliano, Demna Gvasalia, Cédric Charbit (the general manager of Balenciaga) or even Alexandre Arnault (general manager of the luggage), luxury department of Rimowa and vice president of jeweler Tiffany & Co., two houses owned by his father, Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, whom ye now his “ new drake “). Even the booth consisted of VIPs like Matthew Williams (current Givenchy prosecutor).

Matthew Williams, current Artistic Director of Givenchy, performed for YZY SZN 9 in Paris on October 3, 2022.

Why YZY SZN 9’s post-apocalyptic collection is scandalous

Artist Michèle Lamy, Selah Marley and Naomi Campbell pose for YZY SZN 9. © Courtesy of YZY.

What stood out most was neither the children’s choir as a soundtrack, nor the muted color clothing, happily technical survival outfits to face a post-apocalyptic world (the big trend of every second podium in the last few seasons overall). Everything has been designed to be put on without buttons, zippers or other closure systems.

No, what particularly scandalized was a T-shirt: on the front a photo of Pope John Paul II with the words ” Seguiremos tu ejemplo (We will follow your example) and back White lives matter ».

Screenshot from 10/05/2022 at 14:48:35
Candace Owens and Ye in White Lives Matter t-shirts at the YZY SZN 9 presentation on October 3, 2022. © Twitter screenshot.

“White lives matter”: the Discord T-shirt from the YZY SZN 9 collection by Ye

Far from just saying “White Lives Matter,” this slogan comes from white supremacists, including the Ku Klux Klan. who have been using it since 2015 in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. And it was Ye herself who wore it, as well as Candace Owens, conservative political commentator and ardent supporter of Donald Trump. Selah Marley (daughter of Lauryn Hill and granddaughter of Bob Marley) also wore the Discord t-shirt to the “parade”.

Should be read as a sign of support for white supremacy in the midst of the rise of fascism (after all, Ye has publicly endorsed Donald Trump, sported Make America Great Again caps several times, and even declared that ” Slavery was a choice “) or an ironic provocation? However, when the news broke during the presentation, several members of the public, such as Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith), left the premises in simple disapproval. Backstage, Ye declined to comment on his gesture (aside from a tight ” That says it all ‘ reports major fashion critic Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times).

Ye, formerly Kanye West, cyberstalking stylist Gabriela Karefa-Johnson
Following a critical story by Gabriella Karefa-Johsnon, Ye began bullying her online, specifically attacking her style of dress. © Instagram screenshot.

And the situation has only gotten worse since then. In fact, after the presentation, the great stylist Fashion United States, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson (282,000 followers on Instagram), posted in the story this t-shirt is froma” unacceptable behavior ». The rapper immediately responded by attacking him on his body. And to see thatHe has 17.9 million admirers on the metagroup social network, it immediately became a call for racist, misogynistic and grossly hostile cyberbullying against the stylist.

Vogue defends Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and organizes discussion filmed by Baz Luhrmann

But messages have also poured in from high-profile fashion industry figures to defend Gabriella Karefa-Johsnon and denounce Yes’s behavior. Out after two days of irregular posts Ye, the latter just announced that she had dinner with Gabriella Karefa-Johnson at the invitation of Anna Wintour, all filmed by filmmaker Baz Luhrmann. On his side, Fashion publicly defended his stylist’s constructive criticism:

Screenshot of 10/05/2022 on 11/16/00
Instagram screenshot by @voguemagazine.

Vogue is alongside Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, our global fashion editor and longtime collaborator. She was personally attacked and intimidated. It’s not acceptable. Voices like hers are needed now more than ever, and in a private meeting with Ye today, she once again spoke her truth as she saw fit, on her terms. »

It remains to be seen whether this filmed discussion will be made public or not., and whether it helps to better understand the meaning of the racist slogan “White Lives Matter” picked up by Ye. It remains disturbing and chilling to note that the artist’s completely incoherent behavior, who was diagnosed with Bipolar, is still so celebrated and supported by part of the fashion industry and most importantly by millions of loyal fans with whom Ye led like a sectarian guru .

If he had been a woman, whoever would no longer be recognized as Kanye West would have been placed under guardianship a long time ago.. In the meantime, he can continue harassing his ex-wife Kim Kardashian or other women he dislikes with impunity. And put it down to an expression of his misunderstood genius, like so many other violent men with him.


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Photo credits Headline: Courtesy of YZY; Twitter screenshot.

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