If you cast your mind back to the mid ’00s, you might recall that Kanye West had planned to release Pastelle, his first full fashion line. He built up major hype — and then nothing. Now, Complex has delivered the full story of what happened to Pastelle.
For three years (leading up to somewhere around 2007 to 2008), West and his team — Virgil Abloh, Don C, Matt George, and Willo Perron — scoured the globe on the hunt for potential collaborators. They bagged Kim Jones (now Dior artistic director) as consultant and roped in the likes of Emma Hedlund of CMMN SWDN, with A Bathing Ape slated to handle distribution, and KAWS to illustrate logos. The Complex story says that at one point West had around 30 designers and consultants working with him.
Pastelle had studios in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles, was referenced in tracks “Stronger” and T.I.’s “Swagga Like Us.” West wore the designs to a Dior Spring 2009 show in June 2008 in Paris, and to KROQ’s 2008 Almost Acoustic Christmas concert. He gave interviews, had enough samples to release capsule collections, drafted logos, and had thought about price points. Hype was building.
Until everything went dead.
Mountains of samples were left untouched, some collaborators were left unpaid, and Pastelle offices closed down. According to Complex’s report, the dramatic shift can be pinpointed to West’s public outburst at Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMAs, which led to him shying away from the limelight — at least for a spell.
Read the full report here.
Do you remember being hyped for Pastelle? Let us know in the comments.
Next, here’s the line up for Highsnobiety’s day stage at Melt Festival.