Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kanye West’s New Fashion Ambition, as Told to Ellen DeGeneres: Designing for Payless

Photo via Hypebeast

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

When Kanye West isn't designing $600 Yeezy sweatpants and $3,000 jackets, and aspiring to become the creative director of Hermès, the rapper-slash-designer apparently dreams of working with mall brands. In interviews, he has repeatedly mentioned that he wants to be creative director of the Gap, expressed his respect for J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler and said he wants his brand to be "truly democratic."

The latest lowbrow fashion aspiration: Payless. During a recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, West expressed interest in working with the affordable, mass-market shoe brand, saying that he'd be able to stop "bullying" with his Payless designs.

Oh, and he manages to name-drop President Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio in the same thought:

When I make clothes, I sit there with Obama and Leo’s talking about the environment and then I’m talking about clothes and everyone looks at me like that’s not an important issue. But I remember going to school in 5th grade and wanting to have a cool outfit. I called the head of Payless. I’m like, I want to work with you. I want to take all this information that I’ve learned from sitting at all these fashion shows and knocking on all these doors and buying all these expensive clothes. And I want to take away bullying.

Wait, would a Payless collab mean a cheaper version of Yeezys??

West also told DeGeneres he wants to be the "Michael Jackson of Apparel":

Michael Jackson and Russell Simmons is the reason I was able to go so far in music. There was a time when Michael Jackson couldn't get his video on MTV because he was considered to be urban. The Michael Jackson. So I literally have to be Michael Jackson of apparel in order to break open the doors for everyone that will come after I'm gone. After I'm dead. After they call me "Wacko Kanye." Isn't that so funny? The people point fingers at the people who have influenced us the most? They talk shit about the people they care about the most? I'm sorry daytime television.
I'm sorry for the realness.

Upon completing his 8-minute monologue, Kanye breaks into a huge grin. Now, I'm thinking, Kanye really should have his own daytime television show. He's got this down. Maybe it could be called "Kanye: Sorry for the Realness." But for now, more affordable, less impossible to buy shoes would be great.