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French designer had no idea who Kanye West was

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Jul 08, 2013 | 6:00pm EDT

Kanye West's new fashion collaborator Jean Touitou had no idea who the rapper was when they first met at the designer's studio in France more than two years ago. Executives at Touitou's company, A.P.C., announced on Sunday (07Jul13) that they had teamed up with the Stronger hitmaker to create a capsule collection for men, but the label boss confesses he had never even heard of the hip-hop superstar when he agreed to give him a tour of his offices. In a candid press release, the designer recalls, "Over two years ago, a visitor to the A.P.C. studio was announced to me as 'Kenny.' He wanted my advice on the fashion industry; although I found such a request quite vague, as a mutual friend introduced us, I met with the guy. "The guy talks, talks and talks and I was having a good time listening. He had nice manners and spoke about losing his mother (Donda West) in a surgery accident, about losing his girlfriend too, and about how difficult doing the right thing in fashion was. After a while, I was curious to know what this gentleman was currently doing in his life. I simply asked him: 'May I know what your trade is, sir?' He took his shades down, so that finally I could see his eyes, and answered me: 'I am a hip hop artist.'" The pair kept in touch in the years following the studio meeting and they decided to put their creative minds together to come up with the A.P.C. Kanye mini-collection. Touitou adds, "Over the months, we kept hanging out and finally came up with the idea of doing a small capsule collection of clothes together. 'Small' meaning that this capsule collection consists of a jean, a hoodie and a T-Shirt. Those are precious to me and to Kanye too, because it took time and thoughts to get there." The range, which is set to go on sale from 14 July (13), isn't West's first fashion venture - he debuted his DW line in October, 2011 at Paris Fashion Week, but the preview failed to impress notoriously tough critics.

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