Ye Carefully Crafted New YZY Campaign with Nick Knight and Candice Swanepoel

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Ye’s newest pair of sunglasses has his daughter’s nod of approval.

“I put these glasses on Chicago last night, and she was like, ‘These are my glasses now.’ She didn’t want to take them off,” said Ye. 

The approval from Chicago meant a lot to Ye. He’s happy that she appreciates YZY SHDZ.

“She was able to throw the shades in the air, and they fell on the ground, and I wasn’t running like, ‘You’re going to break the prototype!’” 

The style made waves on social media and was worn by Kim Kardashian and North West. Ye created them with the help of Demna, the equally anonymous designer of Balenciaga.

“Both Virgil [Abloh] and Demna worked on Yeezy season one, and now with losing Virgil, I wasn’t able to work with him when he was at Louis Vuitton, so that’s why I think it’s so important that me and Demna still get to work together,” he said. 

“We collectively present new ideas for our species, you know?” 

The ideas he was talking about came to life in campaign images by Ye contributor Nick Knight. Here, Candice Swanepoel is photographed bald with silver sunglasses tied behind her back and nothing else.

In recent times, Ye and Swanepoel went to London to shoot with Knight (the bald head, as a matter of fact, is Knight’s and not Swanpoel’s – it was photoshopped). 

“I can send them out to any modeling agency now and be employed for the top of my head only,” Knight said. 

The two have collaborated with various projects, such as the short film of Jesus is King, the music video “24” and the YZY SPLY website. Consequently, Knight and YE developed a decent professional relationship.

“Unlike virtually any other person I’ve worked with, he very much wants to make sure he sees what he wants to see. Not in a nasty way at all; it’s very inspiring to work with someone who cares that much about how the imagery should work,” Knight added. 

Knight emphasized the need to do a before-and-after comparison to choose the perfect shade of grey-blue.

Since seeing her at a party 12 years ago, Ye had wanted to collaborate with Swanepoel. And according to Knight, she is “one of those models who just wants to get a great image and will work to do so.” 

Swanepoel added that the feeling is mutual, saying, “The vision for the shoot was so clear but also allowed me to contribute my perspective on it. Moreover, it was exciting being a part of something I knew would instantly become iconic.” 

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Ye Says They ‘will define what the future is’

The sunglasses have the ability to make anyone – either it is Lil Uzi Vert or Lisa Rinna – look like they’re from the year 3022. But Ye seems to have mixed emotions about the word futuristic

“Saying something is in the future takes out the accountability of it needing to exist in our reality, and the fact that it’s 2022 and we don’t have the future we thought we were going to have,” he said. 

“Certain things are more futuristic, and a lot of things are less futuristic than we thought we would have. Obviously, I’ve been defined as a futurist. I’ll put it like this, it’s going to rhyme, it’s going to be poetry: Since we’ve been defined as futurists, we will define what the future is.” 

Per Ye, the conversations he, Swanepoel, and Knight had on the shoot were focused on having a better world for the generations to come. 

“People are so quick to think it’s going to be so dystopian, but I feel it’s going to be James Turrell spaces and Nick Knight photos and foods from localized farms with no pesticides,” he said. 

Although the photos show sunglasses, the collaborators had bigger visions. 

In another photo, Swanepoel stands with a massive backpack under what seems to be a solar eclipse. Together, they are like an ad for a science fiction film but with a twist. 

“Having spent some of my life with the man, I believe that is his fundamental thing: He wants to make the world a better place,” Knight said of Ye. 

“He said to me the other day it should be like a dystopian movie, but with a happy ending. Why do those movies always have a sad ending? Why can’t there be one where it works out, and it’s a better place?”

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Photo: LinkedIn