NewsHoly Yeezus, Kanye West Is Opening 21 Stores Around the World This Weekend
This is a god dream (for merch completists).
The great merch wars of 2016 arguably started back in February, when Kanye West dropped a collection of printed hoodies, tees, hats, and jackets at his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show/The Life of Pablo album release party at Madison Square Garden. Since then, the list of people who've come for Kanye's graphic-printed throne has been endless: Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Drake, YG, and even Ye's almost-brother-in-law Scott Disick all have thrown their entry into the marketplace, establishing merch in 2016 as not just a sign of fandom, but of fashion-forwardness. But Kanye West just blew the lid off the whole industry when he announced this weekend he will be opening 21—that's right, 21—different 'Pablo' merch pop-up stores around the world, from Melbourne, Australia to Miami.
Why 21? We're not sure, but that is the same amount of Grammys the 39-year-old artist has to his name. What West did here is basically bring a tank to a knife fight in terms of 2016's merch battle. At the end of the day, Bieber and Drake merch caused long line-ups, but it was West who set the tone for merch as worth lining up for in the first place . In fact, West claimed back in February that Vetements' "may the bridges I burn light the way" hoodie was inspired at least in color scheme by his own 'Pablo' gear. Point is, while everyone else in the biz was trying to play catch-up, it seems West was scheming to make the biggest splash of the year.
The reason West's merch has been so successful this year comes down to sheer volume. No other artist has had so many different iterations of their branded gear as Kanye West has had, from the custom tees and hoodies he did for a music festival in the Philippines to his specialized gear for pop-ups in Los Angeles and Paris. Point is, Kanye West has turned his "I feel like [Blank]" gear into a brand in and of itself—and one that has become a status symbol that most streetwear labels would find enviable. The entire list of cities getting their own 'Pablo' pop-up can be found on Kanye West's website. We feel like excited—how about you?