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Chic Talk: Kanye West’s Fashion Evolution

By Victor Ren

The spotlight shined on Kanye West in 2004 after producing tracks for JAY-Z and debuting his first studio album The College Dropout. Through those first couple of steps, West shot to stardom as he went on to deliver seven more major projects, solidifying the massive imprint he has made on music.

Alongside his platinum records, West has made himself a staple in the fashion industry. His style has continued to change and take shape just as his sound shifted in the music industry. From the brightly colored polo shirts and schoolyard backpacks that began with The College Dropout to his Yeezy fashion line partnering with The Life of Pablo, West has captured the attention of millions through sight and sound.

The College Dropout, 2004


“It ain’t Ralph tho,” West said in a radio interview. Although the infamous line was said much later than 2004, it seemed to perfectly describe his outfits during the time of his album debut. West always sported a bright colored Ralph Lauren polo, baggy jeans, and golden chains.

To top it all off was the signature Kanye West backpack that he always carried on his back. West mentions his own style in a song, rapping “First ***** with a Benz and a backpack/ Ice chain, Carti Lens and a knapsack.”

Late Registration, 2005-2006


48th Annual Grammy Awards - Press Room

At the Grammy Awards were when we were able to see West’s style in full display. For the show, he ditched his playground look for a more sophisticated suit, but West still manages to put his creative spin on top of it.

In 2005 he wore an all white suit, even accompanied by a white tie. Later in 2006, West added some color into his wardrobe, showing off a three-piece lavender suit and white leather gloves. This was all complimented by the different gold pieces on him that he already owned before the awards ceremony.

Graduation, 2007


When Graduation came out was when events around the country started passing out the vision impairing shutter shades. At the time, the only reason that people wanted a pair was because West had a pair.

808s and Heartbreak, 2008



Playing around with different views of menswear, West had found doubtlessly found a style and look here. He was doing collaborations with Louis Vuitton and was repping designer brands from head-to-toe.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010


West’s outfit is a deep v-neck shirt, baggy pants and sneakers is something we will be seeing again soon. It seems like he is taking inspiration in his outfit from past and present.

Watch the Throne, 2011


As always, West retaliated against rules set in society. During Coachella he performed in a women’s blouse, complimented by the golden chains on his neck.

Yeezus, 2013


At Paris Fashion Week, stylishly layers himself against the frigid air. Leather gloves, a long coat, scarf and leather jeans fit in a monochromatic color scheme and are matched with his black boots.

The Life of Pablo, 2016



When The Life of Pablo released, West took it as an opportunity also show off the current Yeezy line at the time. A pair of distressed jeans, runners and army colored long shirts exist in the men’s section of every retail store across the world now because of West. This is the peak of his fashion brand and his look has made its way into every man’s closet now.



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