With Balenciaga Gone, Who Are Kanye West’s Remaining Fashion World Friends?

Just two weeks ago, Kanye West was the first model to walk the runway in the mud-splattered Balenciaga show at Paris Fashion Week 2023.

Now, as WWD first reported on Friday, Balenciaga has officially cut all ties with West following a series of anti-Semitic remarks made by the rapper and designer. Kering, the parent company of Balenciaga, did not specify the reason for the decision.

“Balenciaga no longer has any relationship or plans for any future projects related to this artist,” Kering told WWD. Images of West wearing Balenciaga clothing and accessories have been removed entirely from the brand’s website. The Daily Beast has reached out to Kering for comment.

As the backlash from the fashion community grows and Balenciaga becomes the latest major company to cut all ties, it’s obvious to everyone but West that every one of his remaining ties to the fashion world is very much in jeopardy.

In September, West ended his relationship with Gap two years into a 10-year contract after criticizing the company, which he said took credit for his designs and excluded him from the creative process. Under the terms of the split, Gap is still allowed to sell Yeezy Gap clothing.

At Paris Fashion Week, West dressed models at the show for YZY’s latest collection in “White Lives Matter” shirts, sparking intense outrage. Since then, West has gone on something of a sustained tirade, suggesting LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault “KILLED MY BEST FRIEND,” a likely reference to designer Virgil Abloh, who died in 2021 after battling with cancer.

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Tremaine Emory, Supreme’s creative director, responded to West for comment. “Your best friend Virgil, NEGRO PLEASE, this time last year you said Virgil’s designs were a disgrace to the black community in front of all your Yeezy employees,” Emory wrote on Instagram.

Days later, West claimed that he was initially offered the artistic director job at Louis Vuitton, which eventually went to Abloh, and experienced “a lot of heartache and jealousy” as a result.

In the days following Paris Fashion Week, West appeared on Tucker Carlson tonight to claim to be “pro-life,” falsely claimed George Floyd died from ingesting fentanyl and tweeted that he would “condemn 3 the Jews,” a comment that got him blocked on Instagram and Twitter.

As more players in the fashion world moved to distance themselves from the West, his anger did not abate.

In response to Adidas’ announcement that they were reviewing their partnership with West, West wrote “FUUUUUUCK ADIDAS I AM ADIDAS ADIDAS RAPED AND STOLE MY DESIGNS” on Instagram.

“After repeated efforts to resolve the situation privately, we have made the decision to review the partnership. We will continue to co-manage the current product during this period,” the company said in its statement.

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West’s complicated relationship with Adidas is well-documented: West and the brand first released a collaboration in 2015, debuting with the YEEZY BOOST 750 shoe. West and Adidas have gone on to release a series of ubiquitous sneakers and conceptually alien slides under the line Yeezy, which, appropriately Washington Postgenerates about $2 billion a year for Adidas, nearly 10% of the company’s annual revenue.

But in June, West took to Instagram to sound the alarm about the brand’s new Adilette 22 sandals, which West called “a fake YEEZY made by Adidas itself.” Before announcing that their relationship with West was under review in October, Adidas had not publicly commented on his incendiary posts.

The thing about it being Adidas is like, I can literally say anti-Semitic shit and not let it go

Kanye West

The Anti-Defamation League is urging Adidas to cut all ties with West, and other fashion luminaries such as model Gigi Hadid have spoken out to rebuke him for his behavior, but West is defiant: “The proof that it’s Adidas is like , I can literally say anti-Semitic shit and not let it go,” West said this week on the Drink Champs podcast. “Now what?”

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The Daily Beast has reached out to Adidas for comment.

Harlem-based brand Legendary6ix and designer Franky Baca also accused West of “borrowing” design ideas without giving them proper credit.

Baca, whose concern is with YZY SHDZ sunglasses, said Rolling Stone that West collaborator Digital Nas reached out to: “I’m talking to the creators and their stuff and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s nice. We like that,’” Baca said. “They were like, ‘Yeah, you’re going to like this.’ So I said, “Okay, cool.” And then the next thing I know, I’m seeing pictures of my glasses design on social media.”

Other fashion institutions speak out against the West. After West scoffed Vogue journalist Gabriella Karefa-Johnson with Instagram posts in response to her criticism of her White Lives Matter collection, fashion magazine Vogue issued a statement in support of his employee.

Vogue “sucked” Karefa-Johnson, the magazine said in its statement. “Now more than ever, voices like hers are needed. In a private meeting with Ye today, she spoke her truth again in the way that felt best on her terms.”

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour was seen posing with West at New York Fashion Week in September, but has not publicly commented on any of his recent remarks.

The Daily Beast has reached out to Condé Nast and Wintour for comment.


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