As a proud owner of a few of his elusive merchandise, I have to say that Kanye West is admittedly someone with many flaws, but he is a visionary.
On the 18th August 2016, following the success of his most recent album, The Life of Pablo, Ye took to Twitter to announce that he would be releasing his 'The Life of Pablo' merchandise in 21 pop-up stores situated around the world. Each city was to have its name plastered on the front of the clothes he was putting out - and SINGAPORE was the only Asian city on that list.
His last pop-up store back in March in New York made 1 million dollars in less than the two days it had sprung up. So being a Kanye West fan and disciple of fashion, I knew what I had to do. Following that tweet, I whipped out my phone to do my research. Not even my school projects have warranted that kind of phone-research-dedication.
Some taps later, I found out that his pop-up store in Singapore was to be a mere three-day event – spanning the weekend from Friday to Sunday – and was to be located at Suntec City Tower 1. AWW YISSSS.
The queue was so long that a second queue was started outside of Suntec City.
Source: @yeezycentral / Twitter
The next day, two hours before the official stated opening time, I made my way down to the location. Unsurprisingly, a snaking queue had already formed by the time I got there (apparently, some had actually started queueing the day before). There were a good hundred people ahead of me, all of them decked out in the latest and stylish street wear, waiting like I was, to get their hands on that limited edition merchandise. I sauntered over to the end of the queue and waited. And waited. And waited. In typical Kanye fashion, his past pop-up stores have had the strange rule of only allowing a certain number of customers in at any one time.
FOUR hours later, I found myself positioned just outside the entrance door, eagerly waiting for the next person to walk out of the door with his acquired treasure. After what seemed like eternity, some dude swaggered out. I was ushered in and promptly handed a piece of paper by the staff inside. The paper prominently displayed the 12 products that were being sold in the Singapore store. I studied it carefully and set off.
One of the four display racks in the store!
Source: @yeezyforall / Twitter
The layout of the shop was simplistic at best. A few racks flanked the sides of the room, and a lone counter stood right in front. Trying on the clothes for size wasn’t allowed, so people around me were busy guesstimating their sizes by taking the clothes off of the racks and placing them against themselves to gauge. I tried to figure out my size, grabbed what I wanted, and then made my way to the counter and placed my order. The cashier marked my order and disappeared to the back to retrieve the items. I stood at the counter anxiously and tried not to do a little dance of joy.
I had to take a picture against the backdrop of the word Singapore in Kanye’s (and collaborator Cali Thornhill DeWitt’s) iconic font!
Five minutes later, I was done and I walked out of the store triumphantly, letting another gaggle of excited shoppers brush past me. At the end of the day, I was $460 poorer but I had no regrets. Call me a hypebeast if you want, but being able to soak in the atmosphere of the culture of streetwear honestly makes for an unforgettable experience.
Apart from being able to acquire the limited edition merchandise, the feeling of being in line with like-minded people is somewhat liberating – it’s that feeling of being part of a group where the top priority is to stunt on everyone else, and basically judge someone else solely on what they wear. That occasional nod of approval or compliment is basically what keeps us fashionistas going.
All kidding aside, a coveted spot in Time’s 100 most influential list of people is no easy feat, and it’s not difficult to understand why Kanye is on the list. In the words of Yeezus himself, “There is no other brand that could sell one million dollars of clothing in two days from one location”. With Kanye going on his Saint Pablo tour within North America in less than a week, his fans who are located 15000 km away – though not able to attend – will at least be able to rock his gear and live the life of Pablo.