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When Kanye West unveiled his Yeezy Season 1 collection, it wasn't necessarily the design that most critics took exception with (aside from Cathy Horyn). Instead, it was the exorbitant price tags. While the collection did sell out at most retailers, styles were extremely limited; there wasn't that much of a rush. Where Kanye's influence can really be felt is at a slew of mass market retailers that mimic high-fashion designs — your Zaras, Forever 21s, and H&Ms, which have already begun to rip off the most successful Yeezy Season 1 pieces. Kanye has long complained about the fashion world not making room for him at the proverbial table, but this is one club he probably would have preferred to be left out of.
Forever 21 seems most afflicted with Kanye-itis. The fast-fashion retailer is stocking a new batch of distressed and faded sweatshirts in the exact blue, gray, and washed out pink palette as Kanye's. Also, while most of the bomber jackets sold by other retailers were left off this list because of the style's classic silhouette, Forever 21's version is outrageously similar to Kanye's nylon olive one.
Before Kanye released his quarter-zip hoodie as part of his Yeezy Season 1 collection you'd never see the style at H&M. Now, it's everywhere. The chain's also selling a washed-out gray sweater with chunky cuffs and a curved hemline — just like the one worn by Ian Connor during Kanye's first runway show with Adidas.
The Zara take on Kanye's curving gray sweater looks to be far superior in quality to H&M's. There's also another washed out and loose-fitting gray sweatshirt for men.
Even American Apparel, which has been prettyyyy busy this year dealing with infighting and bankruptcy, didn't miss out on the most viewed runway show of the fall 2015 season. The retailer released an assortment of boxy, oversize tees in the same faded red, blue, and gray that Kanye featured in his collection.
Et tu, Macy's?
When Kanye talked about his designs, he dreamed that they would serve as "the world's first solution-based" clothing line. Now, with carbon copies popping up at almost every fast fashion retailer, this dream has the potential of becoming a reality. Kanye is actually realizing his goal of democratizing fashion — just not with his own collection.