In a conversation with W's Lynn Hirschberg, Kanye West took aim at the gatekeepers of the fashion world. But along the way he dropped some choice gems that may one day find themselves in a copy of Bartlett's. The 12 best, below:
On his style evolution and personal taste:"I just liked picking out my own outfit for kindergarten. Now my daughter definitely picks out her own outfits and she will lay it down and look at it and say, 'This is not great.' And then she tries to tell me what to wear and what she likes out of the closet, like just my mom being in a fur store and me picking one and saying, 'I like this one mom,' and her looking at the price and it being the most expensive one. So, I think that's where I got the expensive taste from."
On his frustration when critics underestimate his devotion to the craft: "I refuse people who write me off as some rich kid taking a hobby, fashion as a fucking hobby or a fashion plate. How could you even dare to think that, that you're on the same level of this, blah, blah, blah? And the entire time, no one, um – very few people even knew that I have a fucking Ph.D. in art, you know?"
Addressing his detractors in the fashion world: "Shut the fuck up. I will fucking laser you with alien fucking eyes and explode your fucking head. Shut the fuck up – try to write a rap. Okay then. I made this fucking T-shirt, now shut up. And it cost me everything I had and I gave everything I had."
On life imitating art: "Have you ever seen The Pursuit of Happyness? Okay, do you know when he was trying to sell the bone density machines? That was like me meeting with the head of [the fashion manufacturing and licensing company] Staff International and I'm like showing him things that I think can, could be considered to be a breakthrough thing, 'Like, look at these, you know?'"
On getting the job done: "I'm the elf that's Will Ferrell, that's too big for his hands to make the toys."
On supply and demand: "Play this shit back in 10 years – I build things that mean things to people. I make the Christmas presents; number one requested Christmas present of 2015 Christmas, going into 2016, the fucking Yeezy."
On feeling like the underdog: "I wouldn't say that you're on my side. I wouldn't say that anyone in fashion is on my side. I don't think there's anyone on my side."
On not being given the freedom to explore whatever artistic medium he chooses: "It's like if the Michelangelo was working with the church and he was really good at drawing cherubs and he said, 'I want to draw a saint and I want to draw, like, a mature angel.' And they were like, 'No, Michelangelo. First, we're going to say for the first eight years that we don't even believe that you could use your artistic skill set and capacity to create outside of the form of a baby cherub angel, Michelangelo.'"
On taking the long view: "Hey, you're gonna fall sometimes in a run for greatness."
On clashing with non-believers: "That guy told me in a meeting – this is a guy who told me that there was no good American designers, first of all. And Calvin Klein is the first thing that I brought up to say, 'What are you talking about?' This guy looks at me and says, 'Have you ever designed something that didn't have your name on it?' So basically, what he was trying to say is the only reason why people buy stuff from me is because it has my name on it. Well, you could take that two ways. I take it as a dis that you say that obviously none of my designs are good and they wouldn't sell without my name. And I also take it as a – you fuck, it's called a brand. That's why it fucking works."
On how he's like Picasso: "'Hey, Picasso, this work looks like a four-year-old. What's the difference between you and another four-year-old?' Picasso's response? A four-year-old can't sign a Picasso."
On his definition of success: "Being able to be 39 years old, a black male, and articulate myself in this way and back it up. My definition of success is dropping a Charlie Sheen-level tweet and being like, 'I am in debt and fuck you.' Now what?"