Kanye West's Scrapped Pastelle Line Was 'His University for Fashion'

Kanye West's Scrapped Pastelle Line Was 'His University for Fashion'

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Complex tells the story of West’s pre-Yeezy experiment in the fashion world.

Prior to launching Yeezy with Adidas in 2013, Kanye West first attempted to break through in the fashion world more than a decade ago with his Pastelleclothing line. The line never ended up seeing the light of day and was officially scrapped in 2009. West never explained his reasoning and collaborators have since speculated as to why the brand was brought to a screeching halt.

Complex's Karizza Sanchez conducted a deep dive into Pastelle, speaking to a number of designers and members of Kanye's inner circle at the time to properly detail the history behind the mysteriousbrand, which contained two full collections that never ended up materializing.

Dating back to 2007, West began to gather his vision for his debut fashion imprint. Daniel Beckerman, co-founder of Italian sunglass brand Retrosuperfuture, received an email from Kanye'stalent agency informing him that Kanye wanted to collaborate. The Chicago native started to assemble his dream team of about 30 designers, consultants and collaborators, featuring a range of expertise, to assistin perfecting Pastelle.

Musician and Ti$a designerTaz Arnold had high praise for the team West put together. “It was X-Men coming together. [Kanye] had some colorful individuals and creative people working to his benefit,” says Arnold, who joined the crew as a consultant in 2008.

Many familiar faces contributed to Pastelle, including Louis Vuitton's Virgil Abloh, Kanye's barber IBNJasper and streetwear designer Don C.

KAWS, who famously designed the artwork behind West's 808s& Heartbreak album, was also enlisted to help craft the brand's logo. Louis Vuitton's men's artistic director at the time, Kim Jones, was onboard too.

Pastellewould have catered to both menswear and women's apparel with a range of color palettes used on items, including clothing, accessories, jewelry, footwear and more. Renowned custom jeweler Ben Baller was also involved with Pastelleand described the brand as three major designers joining forces. “When I saw it, I was like, Wow, this is fucking amazing. It was a cross between that real golden era ofPolo, a simpler A Bathing Ape, and a little bit of A.P.C,” Baller said.

By the fall of 2009, manycontributors to Pastelle outside of Yeezy's camp learned that the brand had been brought to a stop through online sources, as they lost direct contact with Kanyeand others involved with the defunct clothing line.

Speculation about what was behind pulling the plug has ranged from the death of Kanye'smother in 2007 to not having enough time and resources properly allocated to the brand and just an overall change of heart in the type of clothes West was making. With Kanye unwilling to participate, Complex spoke with an unidentified member of Yeezy's inner circle aboutwhy Pastelleceased to exist.

I think he wanted to do something that was a little more high-end. He didnt want to do a very commercial business, which [Pastelle] wouldve been. He wanted to have an elevated conversation in fashion,” the anonymous source suggested. “Thats why he wanted to do womens, this price point. It was him growing into the designer that he is and being creative and all that. Pastelle was his university for fashion.”

It's a shame that Pastelle never materialized into the brick-and-mortar stores Kanyevisualized, but there's no denying that the experience he gained laid the foundation behind the Yeezy empire we see today.

Read the extensive history of Pastellein full at Complex.