An Unfinished History of Kanye West’s Brand: Pastelle

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For all you hardcore readers, you are well aware of our ‘The Complete History of’ series where we dive into the stories and details behind some of the most accomplished and established brands within the industry. For this installment of the series, we explore the back story and life of Kanye West’s long lost fashion line, Pastelle. After years of delay and anticipation, fans are still left confused as to what happened to the brand; so without further ado, this is an unfinished history of Kanye West’s Pastelle…

‘Ye first introduced Pastelle to us during the College Dropout era way back in 2004. In the likes of his The New Workout Plan Music Video and various advertisements, Kanye can be seen wearing polos with the classic teddy bear embodied on the breast of the shirt. Even with various sneak-peaks and hints being dropped, questions on whether or not Pastelle was actually a brand began to arise but were eventually silenced nearly three years later. In his 2007 mega hit single, Stronger, Kanye sings, “So go ahead, go nuts, go ape shit, especially in my Pastelle and my Bape shit” clearly alluding to the fact that Pastelle is in fact a reference-able brand and entity.

“So go ahead, go nuts, go ape shit, especially in my Pastelle and my Bape shit.”

Kanye-West-Interview-Pastelle

Later the next year, Kanye would again torture his fans in The Game’s Music Video for Wouldn’t Get Far. In the video, Kanye seen wearing a pair of shades which were reportedly born out of a collaboration between him and Australian designer, George Gorrow. Rumors that the shades would be released to the public for a retail fee of $2,000 soon faded and Kanye and his Pastelle plans went silent once again.

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Pastelle Sunglasses created in collaboration with George Gorrow for $2000

But rumors resurfaced after the rapper published a blog post on his now retired site, KanyeUniverseCity.com, which was titled “LIFE IS GOOD… IN JAPAN PICKING OUT FABRICS FOR PASTELLE“. The post featured a photo of the rapper in front of a wall of fabrics with his back to the camera. The comments section flooded with questions about the release of the brand but Kanye kept this fans waiting.

For the next tease of the year, Kanye wore a Pastelle hoodie – dubbed the ‘Warrior hoodie’ for its unique hood shape – to a Dior fashion show in Paris. Just a month over that episode, the hoodie popped up once again in a editorial from VMAN magazine about Kanye. The article featured Kanye, Lupe Fiasco and Rihanna all wearing the hoodie. With these back to back events, fans were sure that a release was on the horizon.

But nothing really came of it. The grand finale came in November of 2008 at American Music Awards when Kanye performed live and rocked the classic Pastelle jock jacket. The stunt would kick off a year of silence where no hints or teases would be dropped by Yeezus. This dead period would end almost exactly a year later where images surface on the internet of models jumping around wearing classic Pastelle pieces. In typical fashion, rumors, hype and speculations all began to develop but were eventually muted by an update article from Highsnobiety. The fashion website revealed that, “We’ve received official word that Pastelle will not be coming out. Ever” and left Yeezus fans all around the world devastated.

“We’ve received official word that Pastelle will not be coming out. Ever.”

Kanye-West-Interview-Pastelle

Pastelle went through a five-year dead period with no articles, rumors or anything be speculated about the brand. Then suddenly and seemingly out of no where, streetwear enthusiast and designer Ian Connor posted on an Instagram photo of a Pastelle t-shirt and in the description wrote “May 14th”. Hype flooded onto the internet as people speculated that Ian Connor was being appointed as the creative director of the brand. Connor continued to tease his followers and Yeezy fans as he posted various photos of mockups and previous Pastelle pieces. When May 14th came around people were left waiting and eventually came to the realization that nothing was to come of the occasion. Reports of Ian Connor listing pieces on his Grailed account formed but it soon became clear that Pastelle was not officially coming back.

Kanye-West-Interview-Pastelle

Now, some of historical Pastelle pieces can be seen on show at locations such as Round Two’s The Gallery and in the collections of the extremely lucky. It is still unclear as to where the future lies for Pastelle but with the continual success of Kanye West’s partnership with Adidas it is unlikely that the revamp of the brand will be headed by ‘Ye anytime soon.


Do you think Pastelle is coming back? Let us know what your thoughts on social media, get in on the conversation on Twitter and Instagram: @thisisunderline.

If you enjoyed this installment of the series be sure to check out our others: The Complete History of Bape

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