And everyone wants a piece.
Photo Courtesy of @clermonttwins
In aesthetic theory, the “uncanny valley” describes the threshold wherein imitation verges towards but never quite achieves exact replication, producing a feeling of unease in the viewer. It is most often applied to the feeling of discomfort possessed by a human viewer of a humanoid robot. We see ourselves in it, but we know it’s fake—and the less distinguishable the creation is from reality the freakier it feels. It is within this exact space that the Yeezy Season 6 digital campaign exists.
The newly released images feature a cast of Kim doppelgängers, from up-and-coming model Jordyn Woods, to former frenemy (are we still saying that?) Paris Hilton, all recreating—with razor sharp precision—paparazzi pictures of Kim in the same Season 6 clothing. Each image elicits a minimum of one double-take. Next, an echo of “Is that Kim?” And finally, upon realizing that it is not, in comes an avalanche of emotions—not least of which: envy. It is Kanye’s reminder to the world that everyone wants to be Kim Kardashian, and his declaration that we can be.
An instagram spiral would reveal a minor economy centered around cloning Kim Kardashian. Accounts like Yovanna Ventura’s and Abigail Ratchford’s, both of whom appear in campaign, corroborate the fact that, with the right KKW beauty palette and moderate contouring skills, one may be able to kind of look like Kim. Then there are the more extreme, but no less common, measures of the injectable variety that can get you even closer.
But Kanye’s cool-toned, spandex heavy, range of uniformed sportswear claims to carry the very essence of her. If Yeezy clothing is intrinsic to the cult of personality surrounding Kim, then the wearer is not only donning her wardrobe but wearing her identity.
The point is further bolstered by the incredible cast included in the, loosely termed, “ads.” While marketing via micro-influencer is, at this point, a tried and true tactic, it only makes sense that Kanye, a man with no need to scrounge for attention and a penchant for extravagance, would jack up the frequency from local to viral. Enter: the macro-influencer. Each is a brand in their own right, distinct in their presentation, taste, and demographic, but all so convincingly inhabiting the same surpassingly MAJOR persona of Kim Kardashian.
These influencers are famous enough to invade Discovery pages on a continental scale, but unable to sell-out arenas, start a sartorial revolution with their merch or break the internet by balancing a coup de champagne on their behind. They are the residents of Instagram’s uncanny valley, and Kanye has employed them to spread the word: this town is big enough for as many Kim Kardashians as money can buy.
The Yeezy Season 6 campaign may be the latest, masterminded coup in West’s wacky brand of art and commerce, a distinctly modernist project in the power of authorship, or, at the very least, a genius marketing strategy, but as is often the case in all things Kanye, we may never know.
Whatever you want to call it, we’re loving this episode of Black Mirror.