The old saying, more money, more problems, rings true for Kanye West who recently proclaimed to be $53 million dollars in personal debt from following his dreams in the fashion industry. Kanye personally funded his entire fashion line. Apparently no one ever told him that the fashion industry requires big money up front without a promise of a return. You can’t knock a man for following his dream, but putting music aside, which was a sure thing for him, to pursue fashion, which was unknown to him, probably wasn’t the smartest move to make, especially when his music income is what funded the fashion line. Kanye’s first line, Pastelle, became nonexistent after about seven (7) months. G.O.O.D. merchandise, which was marketed toward his fans didn’t do too well either. He was pretty much laughed out of the fashion industry for his high-end women’s fashion line he created and none of those items ever made it into the stores. Kanye’s initial stab at the industry reportedly cost him $16 million in debt and unfortunately, his Nike Air Yeezy’s, although very popular, have not been able to make up for his losses. He didn’t stop there because this is after all his dream, so he continued to fund the dream, stacking up debt and now he’s in a little over his head.
Fashion industry professionals wouldn’t even bat an eye at the debt Kanye is suffering. This type of loss is standard in the business because there is so much involved beyond the marketing, advertising, sales, and overall infrastructure of a fashion line. You need to be able to have a fashion show, and the costs of that include venue, special effects, labor, set and stage expenses, not to mention the talent and product. Fashion shows could easily run you into the seven figures, for just one show. Kanye was likely ill advised entering into this industry, relying on the advice of fans masked as lawyers, accountants and other industry professionals. They see a wealthy individual who can afford to enter into the business and just hit the ground running instead of creating a business plan with solid projections in an attempt to sustain his product line.
Mr. West has even taken to social media begging the rich for handouts to help bail him out of debt. Please do not be mistaken, this is the same Mr. West that adorns his daughter in pastel furs and brags about flying private jets. Let’s not get it twisted though, Kanye is not hurting for money. He’s managed to gross $72 million over the past three years on his music endeavors, so I certainly don’t feel bad for him. They say it takes money to make money, but it’s probably best to use someone else’s money to make money instead of your own. Kanye just had to learn that the hard way. I’m all for following dreams, but one shouldn’t keep their heads to high in the clouds that you forget to touch the ground. I’m sure for Kanye, it’s a lesson learned. My advice to Kanye, just get back in the studio and do what you do best. The fashion industry isn’t going anywhere and neither are you.
Lerae Funderburg, Esq. is the Managing Attorney at Funderburg Law, LLC, an Atlanta based entertainment law firm. Lerae has almost 10 years of experience in entertainment law in both music law and film law. As an entertainment lawyer and blogger, Lerae keeps her viewers and subscribers up to date with entertainment law news, especially in the areas of music, copyright law and trademark law. If you are local to Atlanta, call and set up a consultation! She would love to hear from you!