Kanye West may be one of pop culture's more controversial artists, but regardless of how you feel about his music or 2009's infamous "Imma let you finish," there's no denying the rapper is one hell of a marketer.
Over the weekend, West hosted a worldwide shopping event when he opened 21 pop-up clothing stores in cities from Singapore and South Africa to all corners of the United States, including Frisco, Texas. Even though he gave just two days notice, thousands of Dallas-Fort Worth fans flocked to the Stonebriar Centre to get their hands on official Life of Pablo gear (named for West's most recent album).
It would come at a price though, and we're not just talking dollars and cents. Security personnel said Stonebriar allowed customers inside at 7 a.m. so they could get in line before the Pablo pop-up opened at 10 a.m. The crowd of people began outside a storefront with blacked out windows and snaked around the mall's interior like an airport security checkpoint.
Will Blumberg and his mom Kellie Blumberg drove out from Southlake and waited about three hours before gaining entry to the store, which Will described as all white with a few clothing racks and Kanye's music blaring. The 14-year-old purchased a hoodie and T-shirt for himself, as well as an additional hoodie and two T-shirts to resell online. Prices ranged $55 to $95 for short- and long-sleeved shirts, and $105 for a sweatshirt up to $325 for a jacket.
But Will expects to double or triple his money by selling the pieces on sites like Ebay or Grailed.
"All those people online are paying you to stand in line," he says.
Others such as Michael White, 20, and Jeremiah Henry, 19, who stood near each other in line for two and a half hours Saturday, were simply looking to treat themselves after working summer jobs. Both are headed back to college in the coming days and hoping to start the semester with fresh threads.
"I haven't waited in a line like this since Pokémon Diamond came out," says White. "I could sell this hat for a pretty penny ... but the memories are priceless."