Berliners can now purchase Kanye West's streetwear in their own city. DW's Mikko Stübner-Lankuttis found out why so many people waited all night to be the first inside the new pop-up store.
Ethan is very pleased. The Australian student and Berlin resident managed to get his hands on both a white t-shirt with oversized Gothic print and a sand-colored baseball cap with "Berlin" on it.
"I was always jealous of my friends who had Adidas shoes from Kanye," says Ethan. "Now I finally got some of the stuff myself." The shirt cost 55 euros ($62), the hat 40 euros.
Some 250 people turned up in the inconspicuous side street in Berlin's trendy Kreuzberg district this past weekend for the grand opening of Kanye West's pop-up store.
They waited in front of barricades until the doors to 021C Gallery were finally opened at 12:00 and the first 10 customers were permitted to enter.
Fans found out just 20 hours beforehand online that the rap icon had also chosen Berlin as one of his first pop-up store locations.
Pop-up stores in 21 cities
The rapper from Chicago is considered the idol of the hip-hop and hipster scenes. No other musician sets as many fashion trends as he does - from Tokyo and London to New York and Berlin.
Until now, West had designed clothes for Adidas. But he recently released his own collection, which he advertised with an elaborate show at the New York Fashion Week in February. Items from the collection have been on sale in 21 cities around the world, including Cape Town, Amsterdam, Miami and San Francisco.
This past weekend, the rap god went a step further and opened pop-up stores in those 21 locations, presenting city-specific merchandise like Ethan's "Berlin" cap.
All of the t-shirts, caps, hoodies and army jackets are based on the cover design of his current album "The Life of Pablo" and feature Gothic print. The designs are not particularly eye-catching or avant-garde, but they're enough to impress Kanye's disciples - and get people to wait in long lines the world over.
Keeping up with Kanye
The demand for anything made by Kanye West is still biggest in his home country, the US, where his experimental sound and collaborations with other stars have underlined his musical genius.
His marriage to Kim Kardashian is celebrated in miniscule detail by the tabloids and the reality show, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." And despite all the trashy headlines that come out of the Kardashian-West house, his success as a rapper has endured - astonishingly - without interruption.
Many of those waiting in line in Berlin and the other cities hope to acquire a piece of West's undeniable coolness. His t-shirts and sweatshirts are considered wearable art.
Folding chairs have been set up all over the sidewalk in the Kreuzberg alley because many of the waiting customers have been standing there all night. The fans eye each other with a sense of mistrust. Who will be the first to enter the store? And will the item they want still be available in their size?
Is it ok to resell merchandise?
To bring a bit of order into this chaos, a 120-person waiting list was created. Fans had to sign up last Thursday. Then a checklist was passed around every hour to make sure everyone on the list was actually present and no one snuck off to get a good night's sleep at home while the others toughed it out in the dark.
Most of those in line were between 16 and 26 years old and were wearing limited edition clothing items from labels like Nike, Supreme or Gosha Rubchinskiy. For some of the teenagers, it's their last day of summer break before going back to high school. The older fans eye them with suspicion: Here, reselling the gear online for a higher price is taboo.
Kanye's first shoe for Adidas, "Yeezy Boost 350," cost around 200 euros in shops, but is currently available on reseller platforms like Klekt for between 950 and 1,250 euros. Waiting through the night seems like not such a bad deal.
Ethan is undecided. He wants to keep the t-shirt, but might resell the cap. The profit would more than pay for the shirt.