When Kanye West proclaims a fashion revolution, it’s hard not to believe him. Just recently, Kanye sold $1 million worth of apparel in just two days after the opening The Life of Pablo pop-up store in New York City. With all the massive success of West’s projects over the past few years, it seems difficult to understand why Pastelle, his first brand back in 09, was over before it even started. Eight years after the flop of the brand, Kanye has decided to shake the dust off and give Pastelle another go. This time around, the keys to Pastelle have been passed on to ‘king of the youth’, Ian Connor. While our bank accounts are still recovering from the ‘sports luxe’ movement, the anticipated resurrection of the ’00s brand is sparking up a pretty interesting debate: is this really the right time to bring Pastelle back to life?
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The fall of the Dropout bear
Kanye did everything right to get the ball rolling. He rocked the merch everywhere he went, he name dropped “Pastelle and my bape shit” on ‘Stronger’, he released a lookbook, and even got the likes of Rihanna and Lupe on board. Why then, didn’t Pastelle become as iconic as the neutral tones and snake prints we worship today?
Pastelle came shortly after West’s Graduation album beat out 50 Cent’s Curtis in 2007, proving to everyone that a rap revolution was indeed upon us. 2008 was even bigger, with West’s release of the emotionally fuelled 808s and Heartbreak, that left the XXXL baby blue tracksuits and do-rags behind for good. After proving that ‘ghetto life’ was no longer a prerequisite for getting signed, Kanye set his own standard for producing nothing short of revolutionary. People expected something that was legitimately ground-breaking, so when his designs beared resemblance to Billionaire Boys Club (BBC) tees and the iconic Bape ‘Shark’ hoodie, his designs could have lacked enough ‘wow’ factor to win over the streetwear market.
Cast your memories back to your wardrobe rotations in the 2000s. It was chock-full of sweatbands, streaky hair highlights, Von Dutch trucker caps, and those god-awful Ed Hardie prints. Kanye was responsible for trends that blew up during this time. I’m sure many of you would rather forget the unnecessary scarf movement? Kanye started that. What about those obnoxious shutter shades that flooded our Myspace pages? That was Kanye too. Pastelle’s aesthetics had all the right elements to fit in with the 2000s get-up, but was it still too soon for a society still frightened of the colour pink?
Revival of the ’00s era
Ian Connor has all the right ingredients to create an uprising just like his predecessor. Connor’s previous styling stints with A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, and Kylie Jenner provide him with a rock solid resumé. He’s also got a following that’s multiplying at record speed, his Instagram followers call him “dad” to prove allegiance, he’s (sort of) emotional, and his opinions are pretty out there. Looking back at the common traits of past cultural leaders, Connor has what it takes to start the next new revolution.
Much like your bae’s mood, streetwear trends can come back when you least expect it. They crash on to the scene overnight and soak into the landscape, before retracting and returning in a different way later on. The repetitive cycle can be attributed to fashion’s obsession with what was. We’ll always have a soft spot for anything that evokes nostalgia in today’s fast-paced world. As the 2016 landscape recovers from its stint in the high-fashion world, now could be the right time for Pastelle to gain momentum and resuscitate the industry’s stripped down apparel with bold prints and Skechers.
Whether Kanye’s motivations lie in completing unfinished business or making the most of the current climate, history tells us we’re in for something big. While limited info exists to make many assumptions, Connor’s Instagram suggests Pastelle’s loyalty to the ‘sports-luxe’ era, with the Italian-made collection still satisfying those sold on quality, premium apparel.
Everything Kanye touches these days turns to gold. So if there’s any advice I can give you, it’s this. Re-open those boxes of embarrassment in your garage and start re-introducing your wardrobe to colour, collars, and flared denim because the 2000s resurgence is upon us.