Saturday morning started off with a jump and a rush for the two of us. Hubby had a men’s brunch he attended bright and early. I invited some ladies over for brunch, so I needed to get up early enough to actually have some food to serve (can’t Amazon Prime brunch yet). After both brunches, hubby and I were just lazing around, brainstorming things to do when he mentioned that Kanye West had a temporary pop-up shop in East London. That intrigued me. We Googled it (yes, that’s a thing) and learnt that Kanye had decided to open twenty-one pop-up shops around the world for just the weekend, and one of the locations was in London.
We’re both big Kanye West music fans, but it interested me more to see why he was selling merchandise when not on tour, as well as what he was selling. Coming from a marketing background, I’m curious to see how people can make something out of nothing, and in this case he was literally just promoting his album. I researched why he was promoting an album that released months ago, and I think this sums it up pretty well. According to MTV, The Life of Pablo isn’t just the first Kanye West album since The College Dropout that didn’t debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It’s the first Kanye West album that didn’t chart in its first week at all. Eeeekers. Now I had to check it out.
East London is awesome. It’s colourful, creative, filled with hipsters, reminds me a ton of Austin, and was the perfect place for Kanye to set up shop (literally). He definitely had success with his pop-up shop in London. Apparently, people lined up fifteen hours before the pop-up shop even opened. When we got there, we had to stand in a line for a little bit, and a man came out with a menu of the items that were being offered inside. Everyone we saw walking out of the shop had at least something in their CLEAR bags (genius way of promotion without any real effort). There were bodyguards in multiple places, and they kept things efficient and smooth.
Also, I’m not sure what this indicates, but everyone in that line seemed very comfortable in black because everyone was wearing black. Like seriously, everyone. All the edgy Londoners were eager to see what Kanye had created. Once we got inside the dimly lit shop, we heard music blaring and saw the merchandise lined against the sides of the walls. We looked through the sweatshirts, shirts, and hats and noticed that they were very simple designs in his signature colors of white, black, and tan.
None of the fashion choices appealed to either of us because we are not really T-shirt or sweatshirt people, but we really loved the hats. One thing I noticed is that the brand that made the T-shirts is a very popular brand back home but not as popular in high fashion. Popular as in “we use that for sports jerseys and college T-shirts.” I was really surprised to see someone like Kanye West use Gildan for his clothing, especially since he designed it himself with his assistant. When you think of Kanye West, you think of fashion, you think of odd, you think of something out of this world, maybe a little bit crazy. So the fact that Gildan shirts were being sold in that space was so strange! Maybe he’s cutting back where he can? Idk. Maybe it’s all a promotional for his album and he really doesn’t care about the exclusivity of the T-shirt makers? Probably.
Anyways, after getting over my Gildan shock, we picked out our hats and headed out—not before taking a picture with his signature wall, of course. The signature wall was the design he created for each individual city that got a pop-up shop. All in all it was a fun experience, and I think that it absolutely was a success for team Kanye West. The fact that there have been lines for hours at this point just really reveals that whoever he’s got on his marketing team knows a thing or two. My questions are, within the next six months or even six weeks, are people really going to care? Like was it worth waiting fifteen hours in line when the clothes are on eBay an hour after the shop opened? Will they care about the clothing or care about his album and buy it on…TIDAL? lol. We will have to see. Personally I love the album, especially “Fade” (heart eyes). My take? He is somebody who is known for his boldness, bluntness, and beats as well as his slightly over-the-top lifestyle and decisions. People identify with that because when they think of a dreamer, they think of Kanye.
Who knows? Maybe this will turn into a Yeezy shoe situation where a $350 pair of shoes resells for $10,999. Let me go ahead and book my first class flight to New Zealand 🙌🏾 if you get a chance to go check out a pop-up shop, you really should. Below are a list of cities where his pop-up shops are located. You can still go tomorrow!
The locations for Kanye’s “The Life Of Pablo” pop-up shops are:
Kachette, 347 Old Street, London
Rozengracht, 191 1016 LZ, Amsterdam
832C Gallery, St Agnes Alexandrienstr 118-121, Berlin
Suntec City Tower 1, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore
City Centre, 107 Bree Street, Cape Town
Pacific, 100 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
209 Brunswick Street, Victoria, Melbourne
Clackamas Town Center, 12000 SE82nd Avenue, Happy Valley, Oregon
Miami Design District, 160 NE 40th Street, Miami, Florida
45 Wentworth Place, San Francisco, California
Fashion Show, 3200 S Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas
346 N Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California
Stonebriar Center, 2601 Preston Road, Frisco, Texas
Houston Galleria, 5005 Westheimer, Houston, Texas
Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, Georgia
Northbrook Court, 2171 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, Illinois
Lakeside, 14000 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights, Michigan
12 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
King Of Prussia, 160 N Gulph Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
The Supermarket, 393 Broadway, New York
899 Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts