Kanye West's much-buzzed-about The Life of Pablo pop-up shop in New York City is further proof that the rapper-turned-designer has cultivated an aesthetic in which rabid fans and aftermarket resellers simply can't get enough of the polarizing figure. But a series of tweets from yesterday suggest that West's influence may be far greater than we ever could have imagined - even after the NYPD was forced to shut down an entire city block to deal with the crowds.
"The level of anxiety could be felt in the air," said Highsnobiety photographer, Thomas Welch.
While the reseller portion of the equation inevitably bumps prices of TLOP merch into territories where they are fetching nearly $2,000 USD for a jean jacket, we can only assume that West's statements about $1 million USD in sales reflects prices of items at retail.
According to our initial coverage, prices ranged from $35 USD for a beanie, $45 to $65 USD for a T-shirt, $95 USD for a hoodie and $150 to $400 USD for jackets.
As part of their own coverage, WWD also noted how much inventory people were walking away with; noting that it varied from one guy walking away with $715 USD worth of clothes while another shelled out $3,000 USD after spending the night in his car.
"They were copping HUGE amounts of stuff," Welch said. "The average person was probably getting at least a tee, cap and hoodie. No one waits in line and then spends $50 USD."
If Kanye is indeed telling the truth about his $1 million USD haul in a 48-hour period, here is a breakdown of the potential number of units he could have possibly sold.
2,215 beanies @ $35 USD = $77,525 USD 3,500 T-shirts @ $65 USD = $227,500 USD 5,000 hoodies @ $95 USD = 475,000 USD 1,100 jackets @ $200 USD = $220,000 USD
Total = $1,000,025 USD
If we were to assume that people opted for the least pricy items, the breakdown would look something like this:
10,000 beanies @ $35 USD = $350,000 USD 5,000 T-shirts @ $65 USD = $325,000 USD 1,325 hoodies @ $95 USD = $125,875 USD 1000 jackets @ $200 USD = $200,000 USD
Total = $1,000,875 USD
We will probably never get specific details regarding how many units were actually sold, but the combination of the lucrative resale market with fans that worship at the feet of Yeezus make his bold claim very much a possibility.
Consider another behemoth in streetwear; Supreme. Last Thursday, they released their collaboration with Stone Island that was quickly scooped up all around the world. Currently, 65 items from last week's release, including both Stone Island and mainline Supreme products - ranging in price from $40-$996 USD - are completely sold out. If we assume a highly-trafficked store like Supreme New York sold 100 pieces of each, at an average price of $153.85, they would have sold $1 million in product. Looking at this from another angle, Supreme would need to serve 3,000 customers who spent on average $333 USD which seems very doable given the heftier prices for the Stone Island jackets which started at $380 USD and went as high as $998 USD.
From our accounts on the ground, the swarm of people at The Life of Pablo pop-up was in the "high hundreds" all weekend long.
"There didn't seem to be a limit on what you could buy so reseller galore," Welch said.
So, granted this is true, the shop would have served 1,000s of customers. Do you think 3,000 people spent an average of $333 USD? Or 4,000 people spent $250? That would have made Kanye his $1 million.