2003 – 2006, The College Dropout/Late Registration era
A lot of the kids who champion Kanye’s style today might not believe that he hasn’t always clad himself in earthy, oversized crew-necks and ripped jeans, but back around this time his wardrobe couldn’t have been more different. Kanye adopted a preppy look, often wearing Ralph Lauren (especially Polo Bear sweaters), rugby shirts with popped collars and even argyle sweaters (you know the one I mean).
It was also during this period that Kanye made his first foray into sneaker design, with the Dropout Bear Bapesta in collaboration with A Bathing Ape, a brand which he also sported regularly.
2007 – 2009, Shutter shades and mullets
The release of Graduation saw Kanye adopt one of his most iconic items in the video for the Daft Punk sampled, Stronger. Yep … the shutter shades. Shortly after this and with the release of 808s and Heartbreaks, Kanye completely altered his look again, this time opting for a mullet, more tailoring and a few statement pieces. 2009 also marked Kanye’s first collaborative effort with Nike in the form of the Air Yeezy, which he was often seen wearing.
2010 – 2011, Move towards high fashion … and fur, lots of fur
This period saw the artist ditching even more streetwear brands in favour of high-fashion houses, such as YSL and Fendi instead of BAPE and LRG. Kanye was also often seen rocking custom tailored tuxedos and Louis Vuitton loafers, a fashion house with which he also collaborated with on a luxury sneaker around the same time.
He would often be seen sporting large fur overcoats and fur-lined collars, sparking an ongoing row with animal rights activists, PETA.
2012 – 2014, leather kilt and move towards earthy tones
Kanye was rarely seen onstage without his Givenchy leather kilt, and having recently become involved with Kim Kardashian, the pair were often seen out, wearing matching black leather outfits.
In 2014 Kanye was gravitating away from dark colours and leather, in favour of more earthy, neutral tones and subtle pieces; dropping Givenchy for A.P.C and Balmain for VISVIM. Another trademark look during this period was the camel, wool overcoat and Bottega Veneta Chelsea boots.
2015 – Present, The dawn of Yeezy
In 2015 Kanye West really cemented his reputation as a forward-thinking fashion icon. He switched his allegiance from Nike to Adidas and brought out the Yeezy 750 Boost, which was an instant hit and was soon commanding hugely inflated resale prices. The 350 Boost followed suit and went on to become the most sought after trainer of the year, and as soon as he was seen wearing a pair of Ultra Boosts, they were flying of the shelves too.
This point in time also saw Kanye moving on to more avant garde designers, such as Haider Ackermann, Vetements and Raf Simons, a move which saw Kanye imitators paying 4 times retail for oversized, washed-out, crew neck jumpers from high street stores.
Kanye also launched his Yeezy range in 2015, which is currently in it’s 3rd season and has been met with acclaim from fans.