Whether you love him or hate him, Kanye West has become a renowned cultural icon and his influence seems to be everywhere you look these days. With the release of his Yeezy Boosts, the rapper turned fashion designer changed the face of the shoe game forever when the sneakers sold out immediately in both the 750 design earlier this year and the 350 version more recently. Thanks to the success of the Boosts, West took home this year’s award for “Shoe of the Year” from the footwear news achievement awards. Of course Kanye celebrated the achievement with the signature moment that may have led to more fame than any of his raps or contributions to the fashion world, the acceptance speech.
Showing up to the ceremony in one of his patented ensembles, black on black t-shirt and jeans offset by a gold chain, Kanye opened his speech with a combination of his trademark and somewhat contradictory rebelliousness and modesty by commenting on his lack of more elegant dress for the awards show by saying, “You’re thinking, where’s my suit jacket? But if my wife’s not here, no suit jacket.” Though wife Kim Kardashian West didn’t attend the awards, she later posted a photo to her Instagram of her husband with a huge smile behind the podium at the banquet with a caption congratulating West on the award followed by the hashtags #justgettingstarted, #Yeezys, and #Adidas.
Kanye continued his speech in a way only Kanye could, with a moment of cocky yet self-depreciating humor, by disclaiming “If you don’t like 10 minute profanity-ridden speeches that end with a presidential bid, you can go to the bathroom.” West went on to discuss the inspiration for the Yeezy Boosts, his creative process, and the influence of collaborator and creative director Virgil Abloh, creator of the huge Off-White fashion label, on his designs. Kanye talked about how the fallout from his infamous Taylor Swift scene steal led to much of the development of his fashion line saying that after the incident he went into a self imposed exile in Japan with Abloh, where the two worked day and night on new designs.
Kanye accepted the award with all smiles and thankfulness to the presenters and the audience after finishing his speech, showing a side of himself often unseen, an innovative designer and artist generally gracious for the opportunities he’s been given to make his mark on the creative world. With two of the biggest shoe designs in the world, new music on the way, and having thrown his hat in the ring for a shot at the 2020 presidential election, it sounds like Kim’s hashtags of the awards ceremony were spot on, Mr. West is just getting started.