The serious beef between Kanye West and Pete Davidson has become the focus of much public attention and media speculation. Most of the press coverage about these two has centered on their differences, namely Pete’s air of nonchalance contrasted with Kanye’s hyperbolic theatrics.
But for just a second, let’s stop pitting these two figures who have been thrust into the limelight against each other and take a moment to appreciate them, and their styles, as individuals. Sorry to all the fans who thought this was going to be a competition.
How Does BDE Translate to Fashion?
Until his foray into the world of celebrity dating, Pete Davidson was a relatively underexposed celebrity, due in part to his complete lack of interest in social media. But a series of relationships more high visibility than a 3M jacket with the likes of Ariana Grande, Kaia Gerber, and now Kim Kardashian has put him, and his clothing choices, front and center.
However, the public eye has not changed his wardrobe significantly. Davidson, like many comedians before him, has adopted an attitude of charmingly aloof near bewilderment at the mere fact that people are paying to listen to him joke about things. This “don’t care” attitude, which constitutes the basis of the BDE that has made him the celebrity crush of the masses and many of his famous peers, directly maps to his closet.
Davidson is often described as a prime example of the “scumbro” aesthetic, which combines elements of 90s grunge and early-to-mid 10s hype streetwear with a general demeanor of not giving a fuck what one looks like. Although Davidson is certainly a prominent figure in this movement, he is not its originator – celebs like Jonah Hill, Shia LaBeouf, and the Odd Future crew (whose notable alums include style messiahs like Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean) have been bringing the grungy but colorful energy for the better part of the past decade, well before Davidson was even a name.
Additionally, while one of the key aspects of this style is its confidence and lack of concern, many of Davidson’s recent looks are the works of his personal stylist Britt Theodora. This would imply that even a man defined by his relaxed confidence benefits from professional help when under the spotlight. And for the viewers at home, this means that channeling Pete Davidson is not as simple as just throwing on whatever clean clothes are in your closet – even a carefree look requires some curation and a certain attention to detail. Read on for some tips on how to get started curating Pete’s aesthetic.
The Fabric of the Culture
In contrast to Davidson, who is just now emerging as a fashion figure, Kanye has gone through over a decade of different aesthetic eras and been recognized as a visionary and a taste maker in each of them. On top of this, he has cemented his spot in the annals of both high fashion and streetwear history as not just a successful designer in his own right, but as the discoverer of talented young creators like Demna Gvasalia (Vetements, Balenciaga), Jerry Lorenzo (Fear of God), Matthew Williams (Alyx, Givenchy), and of course the late Virgil Abloh (Off-White, Louis Vuitton). And last but not least, he has served as the personal stylist for some of his most high profile romantic partners including Amber Rose, Julia Fox, and of course Kim herself, who credits him for establishing her as a Fashion Icon.
Kanye’s connection to fashion, both as an industry and an art form, is perhaps too prolific for us to digest in just one article, so let’s focus on what I’ll call the “Donda era,” which spans from Kim’s petition for divorce to present day (for those interested in a history lesson, Grailed has a great summary piece on Kanye’s fashion and its impact from 2004 through 2020).
Kanye’s current aesthetic is in many ways a summation of some of his most notable previous arcs. It combines the austerity of his Yeezus tour – defined by monochrome fits, a constantly changing range of silhouettes, and those to-die-for Margiela masks – with the oversized, amorphous shapes of his Yeezy line and the workwear he wore in his Wyoming era.
The Donda era Kanye is characterized by oversized, body-type agnostic outerwear, like the frankly enormous puffer jackets he released as the first installment in his ten year collaboration with Gap. This means fashion enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes can embrace Kanye’s aesthetic of cozy but meticulously crafted streetwear with the same trademark confidence the rapper embodies. Additionally, Ye has brought back the face mask look that iconized him in the Yeezus era albeit in a different way – instead of the stone-studded works of art he donned in 2013, these new masks are more plain, ranging from simple black to a Michael Myers number that drew significant attention from press sources. Given the current state of the world, one may consider these new masks to be a form of avant-garde COVID couture, although Kanye’s own reasons for wearing them are likely very different.
Color-wise, Kanye has largely abandoned the bright neon, heavily branded looks of his College Dropout days in favor of multiple shades of beautifully matched black, monochrome primary colors, and garments utterly devoid of the almost tacky branded maximalism that defines most of modern rap style.
Even limiting our focus to just this past year of Kanye’s style still provides an almost overwhelming amount of information to process. But rest easy readers: we, along with every other fashion TikTokker, Youtuber, and publication, have some tips on how to translate the Donda era to your closet– read on.
Make it Make Sense
So how do you, the everyday Joe or Josephine (because frankly either of these styles will work on any gender) in the street make use of Kanye and Pete’s style journeys? Well first, let’s understand what these two have in common:
1. Both Are True to Themselves
This is the most important thing, not just about Kanye and Pete’s respective aesthetics, but about how they, and you (in this author’s humble opinion), should approach personal style. While fashion is always discussed in terms of external perception, it is ultimately a representation of what you as an individual want to portray about yourself. If you’re looking to give off a Pete Davidson or Kanye West vibe, the biggest thing you can do is to be aware of yourself – find the silhouettes, brands, pieces that work for you, and dress based on what you want as opposed to what you think society wants from you.
2. Both Pay Meticulous Attention to Detail
Constant awareness of oneself leads to the second commonality between Ye and Davidson that you can benefit from: both are curators of aesthetics as opposed to mere wearers of clothes. This means that based on the general aura they exude, they (or their team) assemble meticulously crafted outfits that best represent their public personas. Behind the nonchalance of Pete Davidson is a professional stylist that works to manifest his personality into carefully careless ensembles, and behind each of Kanye’s iconic looks is the artist’s well documented and prolific history as a designer and a lover of all things fashion.
For the viewers at home, this can be achieved by simply learning about the things you already own or reading into the histories of the brands that make up your grails list – understanding the designer’s inspirations and motives may lend fresh perspective to the things in your closet. And if you don’t have a closet full of designer – because let’s face it, who has that kind of money – take some time to study the color wheel and go try on a bunch of different things at your favorite thrift store or mall. There’s no better way to start building a new aesthetic than trying out a ton of different clothes.
3. Both Are Inspirations, Not Mannequins
Tying back into the first point, while it’s certainly alright to look to these two figures and other famous fashion personas for inspiration, ultimately you should not measure yourself against them or take their style as the end all be all on dressing. Firstly, many of these celebrities have financial resources and connections to designers that make recreating their exact looks nearly impossible. Second, none of these people are you! Even if you fancy your wardrobe as “Kanye inspired,” there is still so much room in that classification for you to make the clothes and outfits your own.
Now You Try (Sustainably)
Ok philosophy is nice and all, but how does all this advice translate to actual pieces? Fear not, we’ve provided a few examples of various “Pete” or “Ye” style pieces that you can find almost anywhere, and some ideas on how to style them.
Dressing like Pete Davidson means curating an outfit that looks like it was just thrown together; pseudo-randomness is encouraged. We'd recommend starting with pieces like:
Don't be afraid to layer on different colors and patterns, but take a look in the mirror before stepping out to make sure nothing is clashing too hard.
To start dressing more like Kanye, the mandate is simple: block color pieces paired to make monochrome fits. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Donda era Kanye looks are more about how you pair different pieces together to create an overall silhouette. And don't obsess over buying things that are the exact same color; tone-on-tone looks are your friend.