- Sickening, dangerous, and irresponsible.
People have gradually become accustomed to Kanye West, or Ye as he calls himself now, making unexpected antics every now and then. The artist, designer, and ex-husband of Kim Kardashian knows how to cause a stir, whether it's via bullying Taylor Swift on stage, saying that "slavery was a choice", supporting Trump, or threatening to kill Pete Davidson.
But the line clearly has to be drawn somewhere.
During Paris Fashion Week, West surprised everyone on Sunday by announcing that he would be showcasing his latest Yeezy collection the following day. According to Business of Fashion, only 50 specially invited and important people would be allowed to come. The show would be his first since autumn 2020 when he also showed up in the French fashion metropolis.
After much delay, the show kicked off on Monday afternoon, with Anna Wintour, Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia, and Riccardo Tisci in the audience. In a long and confusing opening speech, according to Fashionista, West is said to have talked about everything from the theft experienced by Kim Kardashian in 2016 to the controversial manager Scooter Braun and the recent break with Gap.
Finally, the models came out on the catwalk wearing the new collection, including Naomi Campbell, Michèle Lamy, and James Blake.
And this is where the controversy starts. For several of the models, the conservative commentator Candace Owens, who was also present, and West himself wore garments with "White lives matter".
On the front, there must have been a picture of the Pope.
This was immediately met with loads of criticism, both from the known and unknown, via social media.
@Marclamonthill writes "Kanye West's choice to wear a 'White lives matter' sweatshirt is sickening, dangerous, and irresponsible. Some will certainly be quick to defend him, but you should ask yourself why."
Artist and actor Jaden Smith writes on his side that "I don't care who it is. If I don't like the message, I stab."
@Jemelehill writes “Many are trying to excuse Kanye's wearing of a White Lives Matter t-shirt as trolling or a marketing ploy. Maybe it is. But it's also a dangerous, stupid message to send out to someone with such a massive platform. I've lost track of that guy. But just keep calling his stupidity his genius”.
Dazed writes that "West went way, way too far". The editor of the magazine Lynette Nylander is said to have left the venue as soon as the White Lives Matter shirts appeared on the catwalk.
"By printing a slogan that has been classified as 'hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League, among others, on a t-shirt made 'for everyone, Kanye has endorsed a dangerous rhetoric - and if a black man can use, making money from and projecting a racist message that is rooted in "white supremacy" and is loved by the Klu Klux Klan, why can't everyone else use it?", writes Emma Elizabeth Davidson in the magazine.
Right after the screening, West is said to have shared "Everybody knows that Black Lives Matter is a scam. Now it's over and out. Get well" on his own Instagram Story.
Global fashion editor for Vogue Gabriella Karefa-Johnson is said to have criticized the display - and this - in her own story. She writes, among other things, that "There is nothing artistic about this. If you had asked Kanye, he would have said that this was art and a revolution, but it really isn't."
And this must have been the final straw for West.
According to Highsnobiety, he must have decided to take out all his frustration over the general criticism of Karefa-Jonson.
In several posts on Instagram that have since been deleted, he ridiculed her appearance, among other things.
This should not have made matters any better for Ye. The fashion editor has received massive amounts of support online, from, among others, Supreme creative director Tremaine Emory.
The comment field is overflowing with hearts and kind words from some of the world's biggest editors and designers.
According to Forbes, Gigi Hadid is said to have commented "You are a bully and a pure joke. You only wish you had a single percent of her intellect,” under West's now-deleted hateful post.
Late last night, Vogue also went out to its 40 million followers and backed Karefa-Johnson.
However, West did not stop there.
The spotlight then moved on to Arnauld Bernauld, chairman and CEO of the LVMH group. In a series of captions on his Instagram feed and on Stories, he accused Bernauld of having "killed Virgil Abloh".
The latter was employed by LVMH in the role of creative director for Louis Vuitton when he died of cancer in 2021.
The group - or Bernauld - has not yet made a statement.
Sucie Lau - better known as @susiebubble, one of the first big fashion bloggers - writes in a longer post on Instagram that the fashion people must take self-criticism because we continue to make room for, and excuse West.
"We are complicit in giving in to someone who a) is clearly not healthy b) uses his platform to unbridledly share messages that destroy an industry that has never made it easy for black people (or any minorities!) to come up and forward."