Ye, née Kanye West, has long been fascinated by the idea of camouflage—sometimes sartorially, but more often conceptually. Whether he’s wearing a full-face mask, or moving to and then away from rural Wyoming, or stripping down his name to a monosyllabic moniker, he’s toyed around with the extent to which he can disguise his identity or appearance. That pursuit has become less like a style move and more like a conceptual art performance over time. It makes you wonder whether or not someone as famous as he is can successfully conceal themselves at all.
All that’s to say: the sort of bulky, booted, Balenciaga-heavy outfits that Ye has spent the last year wearing (and designing, and selling) have become routine to the point that they’ve become a part of him. Like his unfathomably famous ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, Ye has become recognizable simply by his silhouette—so much so that at first many assumed it was Ye, rather than a masked-up Demna, accompanying a spandex-sheathed Kardashian to the Met Gala last fall. And even if he thankfully hasn’t gotten fans to wear morph suit masks while out and about in public, he’s made dressing like a lobsterman into a modus operandi with a designer price tag, which has inspired many fans to start tucking their jeans into some big honkin’ boots in the process.
So when it comes to Ye’s uniform dressing, even small deviations seem notable. Last week, he stepped out in Los Angeles wearing what one might venture to call “Kanye casual”: a sleeveless Balenciaga logo hoodie over a green camouflage long-sleeve, with a pair of baggy gray denim carpenter pants, a weathered baseball cap much like the ones Demna often wears, and lug-soled black work boots. Nothing here is exactly new to Kanye outfit oeuvre—he’s always loved workwear, army surplus gear, and camo print, even when it’s gotten him into trouble—but we haven’t seen him put together clothes like this in some time. (That, and army green is more color than we’ve seen him wear in months.) Whether or not he’s fully shifting gears on his Donda uniform, it’s still safe to say that whatever’s going on with Ye’s personal style is a steady signal for what’s to come in the menswear realm. That, or maybe dressing a little differently is Ye’s actual form of camouflage.