Featured as the cover story interview for LALA’s winter issue, Kanye West opened up about fashion, operas and his design plans for water and wind-powered cities.
“When I wanted to get into fashion, everyone would bring up The Row and how they started with t-shirts. I didn’t want to start with a t-shirt. I love merch, but we did merch as a punk answer to us being told we can’t work at Louis Vuitton, Versace, Nike,” he told LALA writer Killian Wright Jackson and editor Jessica Kantor, per an excerpt given to Complex.
“Merch started as one of the only things we could control. When we did our first fashion show, in crocodile and all these exotic fabrics, there was just a block, like, ‘No, you can’t get in. No, you can’t be involved with this,’” he continued. “Somehow, I actually had to go back and start with a t-shirt.”
Kanye likened fashion designing to his other creative pursuits.
“I think we can break the class system,” he told the outlet.
“That’s what artists do,” he continued. “They take everything that’s happening in life and sometimes encapsulate it into an hour-and-a-half of Eddie Murphy on stage, or Dave Chappelle, or 16 bars inside of a verse, or the cut of a sweatshirt or a boot.”
‘Ye transitioned to speaking about his operas and plans for sustainable housing. In the past, he’s mentioned his affordable housing domes in Calabazas, which were intended for homeless individuals. The “Yeezy Homes” were torn down, though, because Kanye didn’t possess the proper permits.
Despite the dome structures’ demolition, Kanye told LALA that his wind and water-powered concept homes are “very close” to being available to individuals experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.
“I didn’t come in to make merch. I came in to make operas,” he said in the interview, referring to his Nebuchadnezzar and Mary operas. “That’s no knock to merch and no knock to t-shirts, but now it’s time to change the architecture. It’s time to design cities.”