Why Ye’s (Kanye West) “White Lives Matter” T-Shirt Is Shocking Fashion Week

Ye just unveiled his YZY SZN 9 collection in Paris on October 3, 2022 in front of the cream of the fashion industry, stunned by a t-shirt with the “White Lives Matter” slogan claimed by white supremacists. A designer who dared to criticize this gesture suffered a wave of cyberbullying from Ye and his army of followers. Summary and decryption.

How do you talk about your new collection in the hope that it will gain exposure and sell even more? In the era of TikTok and Instagram, rather than quality clothing with bold designs with responsible and innovative ways, it is better to bet on a fashion show with impressive sets, celebrities in the front row, or even marching outright, or even a scandal. Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) chose the scandal option to surprise her new collection, in Paris on October 3, 2022.

Ye’s (bad) surprise show, formerly known as Kanye West

And what a surprise. Difficult to follow, the artist now better known for her stormy divorce from Kim Kardashian than for her music or her fashion, has has renamed its Yeezy brand to YZY. It was not strictly a fashion show, but rather an “experiment” according to Ye who presented his prêt-à-porter that could evoke the work of designer Rick Owens as well as that of Demna Gvasalia (current Artistic Director of Balenciaga with whom Ye recently collaborated in a trio with the giant GAP).

Everything was presented to an authoritative audience (sitting on the ground …) composed in particular by Anna Wintour, John Galliano, Demna Gvasalia, Cédric Charbit (the general manager of Balenciaga), or even Alexandre Arnault (general manager of the luxury luggage department Rimowa and vice president of Tiffany & Co. jewelry, two houses owned by his father, Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, whom Ye now calls sue “ new dragon “). The booth was also made up of VIPs, such as Matthew Williams (current Givenchy District Attorney).

Matthew Williams, current artistic director of Givenchy, walked the runway for YZY SZN 9 on October 3, 2022 in Paris.

Because the post-apocalyptic collection of YZY SZN 9 is scandalous

Artist Michèle Lamy, Selah Marley and Naomi Campbell pose for YZY SZN 9. © Courtesy of YZY.

What captured the most was not the chorus of white voices as the soundtrack, nor the clothes in soft colors, technical outfits deliberately as a survivalist to face a post-apocalyptic world (the great trend of one out of two podiums, in recent seasons , after all ). Everything has been designed to be worn without the need for buttons, zippers or other closure systems.

No, what scandalized was one shirt in particular: on the front, a photo of Pope John Paul II accompanied by the words ” Seguiremos tu ejemplo (We will follow your example) and the back White lives matter.

Screenshot 2022-10-05 at 14.48.35
Candace Owens and Ye in the “White Lives Matter” t-shirts, at the presentation of YZY SZN 9, October 3, 2022. © Twitter screenshot.

“White lives matter”: the discord t-shirt from the YZY SZN 9 collection, by Ye

Far from simply saying “white lives matter,” this slogan comes from white supremacists, including the Ku Klux Klan, who have been using it since 2015, in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. And it was Ye himself who wore it, as did Candace Owens, a conservative political commentator and fervent supporter of Donald Trump. For the “show”, Selah Marley (daughter of Lauryn Hill and granddaughter of Bob Marley) also wore the discord t-shirt.

It should be read as a sign of support for white supremacy in the midst of the rise of fascism (after all, Ye publicly supported Donald Trump, showed off several times in “Make America Great Again” caps, and even stated that ” slavery was a choice “) or a provocation that wants to be ironic? In any case, when the message appeared during the presentation, several members of the audience, such as Jaden Smith (son of Will Smith) simply left the premises in disapproval. Behind the scenes, Ye declined to comment on his gesture (apart from a concise ” This says it all ”, Reports the great fashion critic Vanessa Friedman of New York Times).

Yes, fka Kanye West, cyberstalking stylist Gabriela Karefa-Johnson
Following a critical story from Gabriella Karefa-Johsnon, Ye began teasing her, particularly attacking her on her clothing style. © Instagram screenshot.

And the situation has only gotten worse since then. In fact, after the presentation, the great stylist rowing United States, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson (282,000 Instagram subscribers), posted in the story this shirt came froma ” indefensible behavior. The rapper immediately reacted by attacking him on the physical. And see ithas 17.9 million faithful on the social network of the Meta group, it immediately became an incitement to racist, misogynistic and grossophobic cyberbullying against the designer.

Vogue defends Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and organizes a discussion filmed by Baz Luhrmann

But messages from high-ranking people in the fashion industry also started pouring in to defend Gabriella Karefa-Johsnon and denounce Ye’s behavior. After two days of erratic messages from Yes, the latter has just announced that he had dinner with Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, at the invitation of Anna Wintour, all shot by director Baz Luhrmann. On his side, rowing he publicly defended his stylist’s constructive criticism:

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Instagram screenshot by @voguemagazine.

Vogue is alongside Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, our global fashion editor and longtime contributor. She was personally targeted and intimidated. It is unacceptable. Now more than ever, voices like her are needed, about her, and in a private meeting with Ye today, she once again told her truth about her in the way she felt was the best, on her terms. “

Whether this filmed discussion will be made public or not remains to be seen., and if it will help to better understand the meaning of the supremacist slogan “White Lives Matter” taken up by Ye. It remains disturbing and frightening to note that the artist’s completely inconsistent behavior, diagnosed with bipolar, is still so hailed and supported by the fashion industry, and especially by millions of loyal fans, with whom Ye has driven as a sectarian guru. .

If he had been a woman, the one who would no longer be recognized as Kanye West would have been placed under guardianship a long time ago.. In the meantime, he can continue to harass his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, or other women he doesn’t like, with impunity. And attribute it to an expression of his misunderstood genius of him, like so many other men violent with him.


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Title photo credit: Courtesy of YZY; Twitter screenshot.

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