Kanye West has officially lost the endorsement of Balenciaga, following their subtle but impactful erasure of his influence from their portfolio.
The mob of people who’ve taken to calling out – or simply cutting off – Ye, just got one brand bigger after Balenciaga finally declared their stance. Following days of radio-silence on the subject of Ye’s rampant racism and antisemitism on social media, Balenciaga’s now cut the cord by deleting all physical ties between themselves and Yeezy from the internet.
Having removed their ‘Yeezy Gap Engineered By Balenciaga’ collection from all online retailers including their own, and taking down the Vogue Runway image of Kayne walking for Balenciaga SS23, it’s clear that the brand has made a decision regarding moving forward from Ye’s comments. This action speaks louder than any words the brand could’ve uttered about Ye’s recent actions, at his show and afterwards on social media. Instead of attracting more unneeded attention to the spectacle, they’ve opted to silently and professionally cut ties.
This all stemmed from the events at Yeezy’s latest runway show in Paris, where audiences saw slogan t-shirts branded with the statement “While Lives Matter” sent down the runway. Donning a shirt himself, Ye defended the slogan on Instagram after the event was deemed insensitive, unempathetic, and even outright racist by the majority of the show’s attendees, and then the wider world.
Since Ye’s all-caps rants began over on Instagram – and then Twitter after he got banned – innumerable brands, designers, publications, and celebrities have spoken out to separate themselves from his views. Balenciaga was one of the last brands to comment.
Whilst the comments Kanye’s made are unforgivable, cancel culture has a tendency to come with an expiry date. We’ve seen brands and designers who’ve behaved similarly out-of-line in the past market their way back into the public eye through tactile celebrity endorsements and lucrative brand collaborations. So only time will tell whether Kanye’s cancellation is indefinite.
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See also: BEHIND BALENCIAGA: A DEEP DIVE INTO SS23