Kanye's 2020 Presidential Merchandise Is Expensive, Possibly Plagiarized and a Lesson for Future Candidates
It’s hard to take Kanye West’s presidential run as seriously as he seems to. He’s not even on the ballot in some states, but he’s still pushing for people to write his name in and continues to release campaign ads. But, from the outset, this seemed like more of a branding opportunity than an actual attempt to land in the Oval Office.
Still keeping up the appearance of a bona fide political movement, Kanye dropped his official campaign merchandise. But, on brand for Kanye and on track with our original vibes, it’s much more streetwear drop than traditional campaign merchandise.
For one thing, his “Kanye 2020 Vision” hat is pretty much a direct rip-off of Vision Street Wear’s logo, which has been in use since the ‘70s.
Kanye ripping off the old Vision Street Wear logo for his Presidential Campaign merch is a sentence I never thought I’d write. pic.twitter.com/j1e77hVRaH
— iPaulie (@iPaulie) October 8, 2020
The price tag also screams merchandising opportunity rather than campaign merchandise: That hat costs $60.
There’s also a purple “double layered hoodie” for $160, which looks like it only features the “Kanye 2020 Vision” logo inside of the hood. For $200, you can get the set.
On the more affordable end, there’s a more simple “Vote Kanye” hat (still for $40) and hoodie (priced at $80), and a “God Save America” T-shirt for $40.
Oh, and to keep things really on brand for Kanye—interrupting people talking on stage—all of this dropped during the Vice Presidential debate last week.
— ye (@kanyewest) October 8, 2020
Whether he actually has ambitions to be the president or not is still sort of a mystery, as are most things Kanye does. He probably wouldn’t hate it, to be honest. But, this seems like more of an opportunistic cash grab and branding experience for a guy who excels at that sort of thing. Remember when Kanye ran for president on the Birthday Party political ticket? Yeah, I remember (and I have this expensive hat to prove it).
But let's forget about the campaign for a minute and think about the merchandise itself. Yes, at the end of the day, it’s a musician’s merchandise. But it’s still an indication of what the youth might be looking for in political merchandise in the future. If candidates want to feel relatable, they need to give merchandise that shows that they are relatable, or at least appear to be. In short, it can’t just be Your Father’s Campaign Hat.
No, candidates should not blatantly rip off existing apparel logos for the sake of brand recognition, but maybe a well done (and legal) homage or just streetwear influence could go a long way.