News & Runway

Fashion People Are Boycotting Yeezy Season 5

Tyga, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Carine Roitfeld and Pharrell Williams attend the Kanye West Yeezy Season 4 fashion show on September 7, 2016 in New York City.

Tyga, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Carine Roitfeld and Pharrell Williams attend the Kanye West Yeezy Season 4 fashion show on September 7, 2016 in New York City; Image: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 4

Yeezy Season 5 will be, by all indications, more toned down, brief and humanitarian than September’s Roosevelt Island-housed disaster. (A quick refresher: Yeezy Season 4 was a schlep to get to, delayed for hours and saw models dehydrating and fainting under the scorching sun.) This time around, Kanye seems more than willing to play by the fashion world’s rules. Case in point: After CFDA president Stephen Kolb publicly scolded Kanye for booking his show during Marchesa’s official time slot, the Adidas collaborator phoned Kolb to apologize and work out a new, more considerate start time (Wednesday at 3 p.m.). Furthermore, Yeezy 5 will take place in New York City proper, at the conveniently located Pier 59. And, with only 24 hours to go until the show, it appears no racially insensitive casting call has been issued. Progress, people.

Still, certain fashion editors are choosing not to forget the Yeezy Season 4 debacle. You won’t find them outside Pier 59 picketing, but you won’t see them in their usual front- to middle-row spots, either. Part of it’s Kanye fatigue. However, we’d argue that fashion’s audience now holds designers to a higher standard. They like their spectacle with a side of substance. An A-list front row doesn’t excuse inconsiderate, unprofessional behavior. (See Fashionista’s rant on the poorly organized, Jenner-hijacked Jeremy Scott show.) Plus, thanks to the current political climate, people within and without the fashion world are more prone to protest than ever before.

Rachael Wang, fashion director at Allure, told the Cut that she “cannot support a company that doesn’t seem to care for its models appropriately and uses racially charged language.” Fashion Unfiltered editor-in-chief Katharine Zarrella, horrified that a fashion up-and-comer like Kanye would draw attention away from the Parsons: MFA show (which coincided with Yeezy Season 4) will also be sitting out Season 5. “If Kanye really loves fashion, he should support young talents within the industry, not take attention away from them,” Zarrella admonished. In the wake of Yeezy Season 4, Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine, who’d passed on her invite, wrote that it’s up to the media to stop “fostering this sense of, ‘it’s Kanye’s world, we just live in it.’”

“Bottom line, I think, is that we have a moral responsibility, as the public, to make and set our own rules. To determine whether something will be valued or not and to live the principles we espouse. We have so much power in the grand scheme of our world. Don’t you think? Media engines are commanded by the trends of humans. Those humans have to be cognizant of how they’re spending their time,” Medine argued.

Of course, we’ve no doubt Yeezy Season 5 will still overflow with fashion people, like Ye’s proven great friend Anna Wintour and New York Times fashion director and chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman. Friedman takes a more clinical stance on the subject. “There’s a lot of interest to our readers in what he makes, and it is my job to report that to them,” she told the Cut. “Whatever my personal politics are, they do not come into my job.” (Kanye once stated that he didn’t vote, but if he had, he would’ve voted for Trump. The Times is decidedly anti-Trump. Kanye met with Trump. Trump claimed Ye as “a great friend.” Kanye clarified that the purpose of the meeting was “to discuss multicultural issues.” Kanye recently deleted all Trump-related tweets from his Twitter. His wife Kim endorsed Hillary and openly condemned Trump’s immigrant ban. Your guess as to where Kanye’s political loyalties currently reside is as good as ours.)

What are your feelings on Yeezy Season 5? Will you be tuning in or tuning out? Sound off in the comments below.