From being “fired for liking Drake” to claiming Ye said his inspiration for YZYSZN9 came from “Skinheads and Nazis.”
Ye, the artist formally known as Kanye West, has had a tumultuous life in the press as of late. Following his controversial and ill-fated YZYSZN9 show that caused an uprising around his “White Lives Matter” statement and Candace Owens co-sign, the rapper-turned-fashion mogul saw his partnership with adidas officially terminated, his collection under YEEZY GAP revoked, and his billionaire status removed.
Now, Rolling Stone has investigated the inner workings of YEEZY, and the revelations are uncomfortable, to say the least.
Anonymous YEEZY staffers opened up to Rolling Stone about the working environment they faced while at YEEZY. As per the feature: “More than a dozen staffers describe Kanye’s company as both a creative haven and cult-like place where you could get intimidated and humiliated — and fired for liking Drake.”
“Skinheads and Nazis were his greatest inspiration,” one tells RS, explaining Ye’s creative process when designing the YZYSZN9 collection. A former senior Adidas executive that worked with YEEZY corroborates this, saying this kind of rhetoric had been heard before — something that has been previously reported by CNN, which stated sources confirmed Ye’s “obsession” with Hitler. “He would praise Hitler by saying how incredible it was that he was able to accumulate so much power and would talk about all the great things he and the Nazi Party achieved for the German people,” the CNN statement read.
The same member of staff that commented about “skinheads” explained how they didn’t rise to Ye’s claim initially. “It’s a point of inspiration for him because I think there’s so much pain that comes from that place, especially for Black people… The minute he turns it around, uses it, [and] puts himself in a position of making money off of it, I feel like he does something to it — he takes ownership over it.”
RS‘ sources also claim that, aside from Ye’s troubling views, the YEEZY working environment was also “a cult-like atmosphere where sycophancy thrived.” One adidas YEEZY designer said that “his anger at us in everyday interactions was just inappropriate, and honestly an HR nightmare,” and an adidas YEEZY senior member corroborates this, adding “how he is on social media is exactly how he’s like with employees.”
Aside from working environments and problematic opinions, the article goes on to outline what many YEEZY employees thought of Ye’s work when it comes to fashion design.
As a contractor tells RS, “I never understood his vision nor found it relevant; he lacked holistic vision and education in terms of apparel, design, and construction.” However, a semblance of understanding was threaded throughout the article, with others noting, “I think he doesn’t trust himself… The designers would gossip. With music, he’s so sure-footed, but with design, it wasn’t the same. He loves it; he wants to do it. It was like second-guessing [himself] because he’s entering a world he’s not formally trained [in].”
The article concludes with one final comment from a senior member of the adidas YEEZY team, who said, “nothing has ever compared to the amount of chaos, the amount of stress and [the amount of] anxiety you go through working for YEEZY.”
Head to Rolling Stone to read more.
For more on this, take a read of adidas: Life After YEEZY by Hypebeast.