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Kanye West in Martine Rose's Barnsley cap
via Instagram

Is Kanye West dumpster diving in Barnsley?

Spotted out and about in Barnsley merch, the rapper is taking fashion cues from the Yorkshire mining town

New York, Paris, Milan…. BARNSLEY?? I can’t quite believe I am writing this but, Kanye West has just been papped wearing a cap with the name of the former mining town embroidered in sanguine gothic lettering on its brim. Given the rapper’s penchant for taking things without asking and freecycling, could Kanye have sourced this tattered old cap from a Barnsley wheelie bin? Has he been dumpster diving outside the Oakwell football stadium? No – the piece was taken from Martine Rose’s SS23 collection, which took a ragtag cast of oddballs to an abandoned gay sauna in south London. 

It’s surely the biggest thing to have happened to the market town in at least two weeks – breaking news from the Barnsley Chronicle includes headlines like “Stray Cats Rehomed by Generous Woman”, and “Heat Finally Off for Baker Shirley”. Some questions that remain are: has the “richest Black man in America” experienced the glamour of the Peel Parade car park? Or the pantheon of Carpet Right, B&M, and Dunelm at the Barnsley East retail park? What about the Worsbrough Will museum? And could he be planning to descend on the already hard done by area, setting up camp in a Card Factory DONDA-style? 

Or was he rooting out a new Yeezy x GAP outpost? How could he be so Heartless! Still, this isn’t even Barnsley’s first brush with high fashion: back in July, Kim Kardashian was spotted wearing a Balenciaga bodysuit with fake tour dates emblazoned on its backside, namechecking London and Dourdan alongside the Yorkshire arrondissement. Those locations were, in fact, a list of the places where the brand’s team were born, which means Demna’s designs can actually be traced back to the Alhambra shopping centre – and that North Kardashian will have been forced to have read the word “Barnsley” on her mum’s buttocks. 

But fashion goes beyond the bounds of the international capitals and, as we careen into the next set of SS23 shows, I fully expect to see editors sitting front row in Barnsley merch. Or should that be Scarborough? Stoke-on-Trent? Perhaps Bradford, the 2025 city of culture? What this proves is that Britain's constellation of breathtaking metropolises are ripe for mining – just not for coal this time! That being said, is it time for the UK’s municipalities to unionise against the fashion houses? Or is Kanye hankering for the most prestigious gig of his career – turning on the Blackpool Illuminations? Was “Gold Digger” actually about a Yorkshrie lass? Either way, the north’s culture is not your costume Kanye West x