Kanye West has had quite an eventful week — and it’s about to get even more controversial.
The rapper and fashion designer waded into the “White Lives Matter” controversy with his jaw-dropping YZY Season 9 show during Paris Fashion Week on Monday. The fallout from that lasted days — and then Ye reignited the controversy in Thursday night’s all-encompassing interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Now, more drama has found the Hurricane rapper. And this time, it’s coming in the form of some up-and-coming fashion designers who claim his brand allegedly “borrowed” designs from them in a shady way!!
In recent weeks, Ye has been gearing up to launch YZY SHDZ. The super-modern wraparound sunglasses were originally planned as part of the Yeezy Gap collection prior to his falling-out with that company. He’s still getting lots of social media attention thanks to a lot of celeb sightings, though! Kim Kardashian, Lil Uzi Vert, and Anna Wintour are among the stars who have been spotted in the reflective glasses.
But according to Rolling Stone, that specific style may not have originally been Ye’s idea. The mag released a report late on Wednesday showcasing the story of Franky Baca. In it, the young designer alleged someone from the Jesus Walks rapper’s team “borrowed” the sunglasses concept from him late last year. He claimed he had been working on his own wraparound sunglasses design for two years before sharing samples online with Ye’s team. Digital Nas, one of the rapper’s designers, reached out via social media about Baca possibly working with Kanye:
“He says, ‘Yo, I want to come look at all of the clothes. I’m working under Ye with music and design. He’s looking for designers, and I want to bring you in.’”
Shocked at the life-changing opportunity, Baca jumped at the chance. He told the outlet he went to two of Ye’s Sunday Service performances in El Lay and even “got to speak briefly” to the rapper. Then, he exchanged contact info with Ye’s team and showed the rapper’s manager a few of his products. Baca then recalled how things soon went from great to bad when he saw designs similar to his coming from the high-profile celeb’s brand:
“I’m talking to their creatives and stuff and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is nice. We love this.’ They were telling me, ‘Yeah, Ye’s going to love this.’ So I was like, ‘All right, cool.’ And then, next thing I know, I see pictures of my glasses design on social media.”
The young designer tried to figure out what the best course of action was:
“I was like, ‘well, am I going to stop doing it?’ Because if I don’t stop doing it, then people are going to start saying, ‘Oh, you’re just copying Yeezy.’”
Baca took to social media to tell his side of the story. He shared screenshots of direct messages he exchanged with Digital Nas and others, as well as reactions from fans and followers of his as to the YZY SHDZ being so close to his own designs. In one correspondence with Digital Nas, Baca asked about Ye producing designs with such similar aesthetics to his own. The Yeezy brand team member allegedly replied coldly:
“Yeah Franky. That’s life.”
Baca recalled that exchange and more in the Rolling Stone piece:
“When I met Digital Nas, the first thing I said to him was, ‘I don’t want to get my design stolen.’ And then he paused for a long time and was like, ‘I don’t know what Ye does specifically, but yeah, I definitely wouldn’t want you to get your design stolen.’ But now looking back at that moment, that was a weird reaction. Just the way he paused. He almost seemed shocked.”
That’s super shady!! Now, Baca’s TikTok video on the controversy — which was first published in late September — has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. He recalled the difficulty of going through with that public call-out:
“Nobody wants to go against someone that’s a hero to them publicly in a negative way. It’s something that was really hard for me.”
You can see more in his TikTok clip, where Baca compared his original sunglasses designs with those Yeezy came up with after their reported meeting:
The up-and-coming designer isn’t the only one who’s dealing with this, either. A Harlem-based brand, Legendary6ix, posted a similar allegation about designs being borrowed freely after one of their hats caught the Chicago-born rapper’s attention. In an Instagram post from May, the brand accused:
“[Ye] told me [to] bring all the hats I had in stock … and to bring the 200 hats that we had at the time to be used for the show in Chicago. He told us to make some [ideas] for a Legendary6ix x YZY collaboration which we did but then Kanye stopped responding. Now instead of doing it with us he stole our idea and made his own hat without the 6 on it which represents my father and made the hat with GAP and DEMNA the person he sent the image to the first night he seen the hat.”
The designer laid out the similarities regarding the hat in question (below), claiming Ye’s version may not be an exact copy but that it was likely influenced by this original work:
As for Baca, he claimed he understands some of the difficult intellectual property issues endemic to the fashion industry. He also told Rolling Stone that Kanye’s intimidating A-list reputation may prevent more people from speaking up:
“I think a lot of these people were suffering in silence. Because nobody really wants to go up against Ye. My impression while I was surrounded by all these guys was that these dudes are almost walking on eggshells. They don’t want to cause any disturbance, because they don’t want to be cut from the team. Maybe they saw one of my friends post something about my work, there’s endless possibilities of how it could have happened.”
Like we touched on just now, issues with “borrowed” designs come up A LOT, whether it’s celebs stealing from other celebs or powerhouse labels taking from indie brands. It’s a sad reality, and in this case, will likely not have any resolution for Baca. Reactions, Perezcious readers? Think this will get swept under the YZY rug or could the rapper possibly go off on Instagram over the controversy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments (below)!
The post Multiple Fashion Designers Call Out Kanye West For Allegedly Swiping Their Creations! appeared first on Perez Hilton.