I arrive at the Melbourne instalment of Kanye's secret pop-up store this morning slightly late – around 30 minutes after it was meant to open – but the blacked-out doors remain shut. Heading around the corner to join the end of the line I realise the end of the line isn’t around the corner... It’s around the next block. And then the next one. I’m now about 600 people deep – and it’s started raining. Great.
Waiting in the wet line makes for amazing people watching, though. Turns out the Kanye fan is an interesting collision of fashion subsets. There are sneaker freakers in their droves (I’ve already spotted some rare Yohji Yamamotos and 20 or so pairs of Yeezys in my section alone). These are punctuated by girls in furs smoking rollies (whether they are "cigarettes" or not is another matter) and streetstyle babes chanelling Kim K's finest post-Ye alt looks. There’s also a guy wearing a raincoat – it is, of course, Vetements.
It seems the Yeezy appeal is fairly wide reaching in Melbourne.
I ask the girl in the line behind me why she wasn’t at work.
"Yeah, I'm actually here for my boyfriend – he's the Kanye fan."
All I can think, standing here in the 13C driving rain, is: what a dedicated girlfriend. I barely want to be here for myself right now... And I'm an actual fan.
The guy behind me, meanwhile, is checking out the website to decide what he wants to buy. "How long do you think it'll take from where we are?" I ask him.
"Six hours," he says, matter of factly.
"And you're willing to wait that long?"
"It's Kanye," he shrugs. Yes, I guess it is.
With the resale value of Kanye merch often six to 10 times the cost of the clothing, those six lonely, wet hours will probably make him more dosh than he'd get at work anyway.
I abandon the line after about 40mins after I have only moved about 10 people forward. I, naturally, swing past the door. It’s closely guarded by security staff who aren’t allowing the nearby throng of journalists any closer for a peek inside. "No photos," says one gruffly to me.
I grab a guy who's leaving the store with a full bag including a hoodie, tee and jacket. "I arrived at 9pm last night. I was 31st in line," he tells me proudly. So why wait for 13 hours for a bag of clothing?
"It's pretty reasonably priced, but it goes up so much after you buy it."
Looks like Kanye's on-sell value is what's really on sale at this pop-up.
The Kanye pop-up shop continues over the weekend – if there's anything left, that is.
Check out the huge Kanye pop up line over at Bianca O'Neill's Insta at @_thesecondrow