Introducing Cassius Clay: Kanye West's 19-Year-Old Stylist - NBC New York
Thread | NY
The inside line on New York fashion

Introducing Cassius Clay: Kanye West's 19-Year-Old Stylist



    Opening Ceremony recently interviewed Cassius Clay, the 19-year-old Yale sophomore who also happens to be Kanye West's stylist. In a stranger-than-fiction scenario, West signed on Clay for a styling gig after a chance encounter while shopping at, where else, Barneys.

    West complimented Clay on his killer style -- the teenager is, it should be noted, wearing a sweater he studded himself and Givenchy gloves for his interview -- and the two apparently got to talking. The meet-up was so convincing that Clay decided to take a leave of absence from his studies to serve as  stylist and creative consultant in Kanye's entourage. (And by the way, yes, that's the boy's given name and no, it's not after the boxer. The boxer was named after this kid's ancester, the 19th-century abolitionist.)

    In the Opening Ceremony interview, Clay discusses his precocious riffs on the khakis-and-collars school uniform that was too informal for him, opting instead to wear only white turtlenecks and black-and-white spectator shoes. "I look back on it now as a dedicated engagement with minimalism (and self-caricature)," says Clay. When left to his own sartorial devices at home, Clay would dress in costume as a pharoah, perhaps for a good minimalist/maximalist balance every child needs.

    Today, Clay counts among his style icons Vogue luminaries Anna Dello Russo and Grace Coddington, and Brana Wolf for her command on culture. Clay's intellectual approach shows flourishes of opulence we imagine will catch on well with Kanye: "Comfort is indulgent and ultimately forgettable," he says, adding: "I haven't decided if self-awareness [in dressing] is necessarily a bad thing." After a stint with Kanye, we imagine Clay will return to Yale with a whole new outlook on the matter.

    Clay goes on to highlight his top picks from Opening Ceremony: an Alexis Mabille white button-down with black leather bows, Christopher Kane printed scarf, and Gerald Tully critter rings.