Fashion Week kicked off today with Kanye West’s Yeezy fashion show at Roosevelt Island in New York City. The infamous rapper turned designer turned Kardashian turned Taylor Swift’s nemesis decided to showcase his new collection with models standing under the blistering sun for over an hour. It was just a matter of time until one of them collapsed and one did.
Not that fashion hasn’t seen its fair share of ridiculousness, but West has taken it to the core of labor rights. The working condition of models is one of the most controversial issues the fashion industry has had to battle for years. Canadian model Coco Rocha has been an advocate for The Model Alliance, a non-profit that pleads for the fair treatment of models, especially with measures regarding weight, age and schedules. Yet, Yeezy forces models to stand in the sun with no protection and no water for hours just to serve as props for his performance. No apologies followed. The industry was outraged:
Is fashion worth suffering for? Is it justifiable to make models struggle for the sake of $100 bodysuits and over-sized jackets?
Yeezy’s shows are never left without controversy. Last year, he held a massive fashion show and album release party at Madison Square Garden where the theme of the show was described by members of the press as ‘refugee-chic’. In true Yeezy spirit, the models had to stand for hours clumped in groups.
I am a fan of reading fashion as a sociological symbol, yet I cannot fathom the idea of providing poor working conditions for models just in the name of making a point, which still remains a mystery.
With all his theatrics and irrational Twitter tantrums, Kanye West has proved that when it comes to his vision there is only one thing that matters: him.