Would you pay $248 for this sweatshirt:
Or a mere $222 for this short-sleeved one (apparently, there’s $26 of fabric in the extra six inches or so of sleeves):
Now I know what some of you are saying – no way, I could get that stuff at Walmart for $14.99. But let me ask you a question: what if I told you that a famous rapper, who is married to a woman with the most celebrated curve since the Gateway Arch, designed them?
Well, the answer is yes, at least for enough people. In 2013, Kanye West collaborated with APC on a fashion line featuring the items listed above, along with $265 jeans and $120 white T-shirts.
The clothes were so popular they nearly crashed the site and sold out completely the morning they were released, according to The Huffington Post.
In fairness, Kanye is in the process of releasing a more affordable clothing line, which he proclaims to be part of a “Robin Hood approach to making clothes.” He believes this new line isn’t about “elitism and separation,” but instead about “making beautiful products available to as many people as possible.”
When his line was showcased last week in a fashion show, critics ripped it apart. Also, he put his 1-year-old child in a bulletproof vest to watch the show, with the child promptly having a meltdown (what 1-year-old wouldn’t have a breakdown after being forced to wear a bulletproof vest and endure a Kanye West fashion show?).
Oh well, small price to pay for another fifty million or so. Because, regardless of what the critics say, the clothes will probably still sell.
The Business Lesson?
You have to wonder about what this means about the future of branding. Kanye West has basically built a brand by being a crazy person, and doing whatever he can to get into the news whatever way possible.
Both men acted ridiculous on the platform that was given to them, and then capitalized on it. Is Kanye (and his wife) showing the new way to get noticed in an increasingly noisy world: just act as ridiculous as possible?
Miley Cyrus took this philosophy to the extreme, but even respected types – like the president of the United States – have no qualms about making fun of themselves for the sake of getting their message out. It seems like the sillier one acts, the more influence they have.
Granted, part of this is just people having a sense of humor about themselves. But still, getting back to Kanye, do we think he put his child in a bulletproof vest for any other reason but to get publicity?
So you really want to sell a sweatshirt for $248? Forget about keeping that money-sucking dignity of yours, find a microphone through whatever means possible, and say stuff like this:
I am God’s vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.
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