Pablo Pop-up Shop by Kanye West
From March 18th to March 20th, American Rapper and Designer Kanye West opens its pop-up shop at 83 Wooster Street in SoHo for three days, selling album merchandise with the print “PABLO” in support of his new album “The Life of Pablo.” The collection composes of “PABLO” print vintage Levi’s jacket, “I FEEL LIKE PABLO” print beanies, hoodies, long sleeves and more.
“PABLO POP-UP SHOP MARCH 18-20 FRI 4-8 PM SAT SUN 12-8 PM AT 83 WOOSTER IN NYC,” West posted a short tweet on Thursday afternoon to notice his fans without any over-articulated fuss, attracting attention and traffic on Twitter. His wife Kim Kardashian West also tweeted about the pop-up store in support of West.
During the first day of the opening, on Friday March 18th, a line started to build up at 7 a.m., nine hours before the opening of the store. By 4 p.m., NYPD had to close down the whole block because of the enormous crowd.
PABLO POP-UP SHOP MARCH 18-20 FRI 4-8 PM SAT SUN 12-8 PM AT 83 WOOSTER IN NYC pic.twitter.com/j1t9Ng5JkO
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 17, 2016
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 18, 2016
Pablo Merch pop up shop in NYC all weekend!!! 83 Wooster!!! pic.twitter.com/v4DX8sH00I
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 18, 2016
I am lucky enough to make it to the last day of the pop-up store opening. When I got to 83 Wooster Street at 1 p.m. on Sunday, there was already a line built up around the block. I stood in line to wait and started chatting with those behind me. Rumors have been going around that the shirts are sold out in sizes, but it didn’t matter to me, because I didn’t plan on buying much but wanted to take many photos to blog about instead.
We waited for around 3 and a half hour to get in. Throughout the whole wait, there had been people coming up to us to resell the product they bought. Some skyrocketed the price while others bargain with you with a lower price. It makes me wonder: if these customers really are fans of Kanye West’s design, why would they resell it?
Being on the line for more than two hours already, Kanye West’s fans Leo Vidal said, “I am definitely more tired, but I am excited to get in. [I am] definitely more nervous too because I don’t know if they have everything in stock. It’s like I am waiting but I don’t know what I am waiting for.”
Willey Lin stands among the thousands of people on the line. Being on his first day of visit in New York, he stands on the line to get a sweater for his good friend back in Wisconsin. “I think it’s a good tactic on the spot, because he makes you guys wait, so you are definitely going to get something,” Lin said.
Vidal has been a fan of Kanye West since his first album. “His music in general is very good. He’s willing to change it up and he’s willing to work with different producers. The sound from his album to album changes so it’s very cool to be on that journey,” Vidal said.
When asked about his fashion, Vidal thinks that Kanye West has the potential but is lacking support and funding. “He’s always been flashy but he has been in fashion. He has always been in fashion and he has been looking for people to support him and fund him,” Vidal said. “Now that he finally got backed up by Adidas, he’s actually expressing himself. I still think there’s more to come with him and his fashion once he gets more people to support him.”
The venue space is decorated in Kanye West’s signature industrialized minimalistic aesthetics. Merchandizes were hung on cooper hangers over cooper pipes along the wall. Large spaces were open in the center of the clean white room when West’s songs echo back and forth. To avoid chaos, merchandises except for the Levi’s vintage jackets were for display only, customers have to step up to the counter to order their size from staff to get from the built-in showroom.
It’s time to look closer to his design. I had never been a fan of this new designer’s fashion aesthetics nor his music. My immediate reaction was shocked when I saw the design – it’s merely a print of “PABLO” with a font you can easily find on Microsoft Word on the most basic type of hoodies and T-shirts by Gildan. In case you are not familiar with Gildan, it’s the same company that made your high school senior hoodies or the most basic short sleeve cotton T-Shirts in the bottom of your closet.
As a design collaboration between Los Angeles-based graphic artist Cali Thornhill DeWitt and West’s band of creative cognoscenti DONDA, the collection carries “PABLO” related phrases in DeWitt’s lettering style. Two colorways shirt and hoodies in cobalt and burgundy were printed with red gothic lettering. Short sleeve and long sleeve shirts were sold from $45 to $95. Blue and red beanies with the phrase “I FEEL LIKE PABLO” were $35, “PABLO” print hoodies were $95, and bomber jackets were $150.
Though the print itself cannot get more simple, I really liked the black handwriting print and the PABLO print on the Levi’s Vintage jackets. Each of these one of a kind vintage jackets was $400, which I thought was a fair price, not because it’s Kanye’s “design,” but because they are Levi’s Vintage. Some vintage jackets had flannel collars, others were ripped in some parts. All these vintage jackets were unique in itself.
After a long wait, I decided that it would not be worth it if I don’t buy something. People on the line have been telling me that I really should get something and consider on reselling it doubled the price on ebay. Maybe most people buying Kanye’s “design” are business investors who plan on making money out of the collection?
After shopping, I spoke to Lin again. He will be giving one of the shirts he bought to his friend and sell the rest. But for the design itself, Lin doesn’t seem to value it too high.”I thought the collection was a little overrated. As a designer myself, I know that design isn’t just what you see, but what you feel, what you touch – basically design should cover all aspects of a piece of work,” Lin said. “To have design printed on something as cheap as Gildan’s cotton tee, it really lessens the design.”