Pablo pop-up takes Soho
On March 17, Kanye West fans everywhere were overjoyed with his surprise tweet. West tweeted, “Pablo Pop Up Shop March 18-20 Fri. 4-8p.m Sat Sun12-8 at 83 Wooster in NYC.” The artist tweeted a day in advance, announcing his exclusive pop-up shop. Fans were already lining up the night the tweet was sent out, in hopes of being one of the firsts to obtain coveted merchandise. The pop-up shop was in support of his latest album, The Life of Pablo. West claims to have made $1 million in only two days of the opening of the SoHo shop. It is not hard to believe since the lines seemed to be endless for the entire duration of its opening. There was a multitude of fans on line, already adorning in his Yeezy Adidas collection. Many who were there were fans, but others were only there to resell merchandise at much higher prices
The few who were able to get in the shop purchased multiple t-shirts and many resold the shirts for $140 a piece to fans still waiting to get a chance to go inside. Security did the best they could to stop reselling practices on the street, but many people got away with it.
Some people who got inside immediately put their purchases on eBay for at least double the actual price. Others were taking orders on the phone, asking people exactly what they wanted. The actual prices of the merchandise was outrageous enough as it was, and trying to sell them for anything higher would seem bizarre. Yet people still flocked to the shop and made purchases on the street.
West’s blue and maroon colored “I Feel Like Pablo” shirts ranged anywhere from $40 to $65, along with hoodies and bomber jackets. But the most sought-after item was the denim jacket, which cost $400. They all had sayings such as, “I Feel Like Pablo,” no one jacket being a duplicate of another. The denim jackets were either covered in sharpie or spray painted with different sayings. The whole collection had a do-it-yourself feel.
Looking at the clothes, it really seemed like anyone could make them. The appearance of the clothes did not deter any of the fans and neither did the prices. The only thing that seemed to keep fans coming was the Kanye West name.
It is questionable as to whether it is the actual fashion that is enticing customers. Some still feel that West is fearless in his fashion and the younger generation can really appreciate this aspect of his clothing line. Those waiting in line expressed that West’s fashion represents the younger generation. To many fans, this clothing is art. To them, West is not just another rapper, he is an artist. These are the fans that wanted memorabilia to keep for a lifetime of their idol.
To outsiders, the Pablo pop-up shop seems like an excuse to overcharge fans for Kanye West merchandise. The shop was successful because of the artist behind it, not the clothes. Fans want to buy all of his clothing because they are inspired by his work. If one wants to debate on whether or not West’s clothing is really fashion, they would have to reflect on what fashion is. It is a creative statement that gets people talking and that is essentially what Kanye’s pop-up shop did.