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The Evolution of Kanye West’s Denim Style

Rivet’s 2021 winter issue has dropped! This in-depth issue examines the steps the global denim industry is taking to minimize its impact on the environment, from implementing zero waste production and design processes to establishing greenhouse gas emissions goals aligned with the Paris Agreement.

As an award-winning artist, entrepreneur and potential U.S. presidential candidate, Kanye West is well-known across a number of different industries. In fashion, he’s best known for his footwear and apparel line, Yeezy, and recently made headlines when he announced a multi-year deal with Gap to deliver a co-branded line of “elevated basics” in 2021.

Though his roots are in music, his influence in fashion has grabbed the attention of those at the top of the industry: He’s rubbed elbows with Anna Wintour, fronted Balmain campaigns, encouraged Made in America fashion and launched an incubator for emerging designers—and the whole time, denim has been at the forefront.

A creative known for his particular tastes and unwavering vision, West has always taken a liking to denim, and even wore a pair of ultra-distressed skinny jeans to the Manus x Machina: Fashion In The Age of Technology 2016 Met Gala. And in his 2015 single with Rihanna and Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds,” denim was the leading act.

While his fits vary—sometimes pairing layers of baggy raw denim with sneakers, and other times opting for skinny styles with boots—he’s often seen in a uniform of sorts, choosing monochromatic pieces for an effortlessly cool, pulled-together look. In 2016, he was photographed wearing a white-on-white denim street style look, which he mirrored at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards just months later. He’s worn all-black styles countless times, swapping bomber jackets for hoodies and blazers for fur-lined coats—all anchored by similarly colored skinny jeans.

The fashion mogul continues to demonstrate his love for denim, recently wearing denim suiting to Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars Gala at the end of 2019.