Australian writer and documentary maker John Safran took the Kanye West antisemitism situation into his own hands, turning Kanye merchandise into kippot.
Safran told The AJN that the partnership with artist Antoinette Barbouttis was organic, explaining that they were sitting together one day and Barbouttis – who is not Jewish – said on a moral, ethical and practical level, she could no longer wear Kanye’s clothes. So Safran decided to do something about it.
“I kept thinking how Jews are in the shmutter trade and then one thing led to another and I suddenly thought, well why not make skullcaps.” While making kippot out of clothing seems easy, turning Yeezy sneakers into one isn’t so straightforward. Luckily, Barbouttis knew a tailor, Chrissy Soe, who happily helped out.
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Safran said he wanted to do something proactive that would speak to people immediately, sharing his pictures to social media, writing, “Antoinette Barbouttis wanted to throw out her Kanye wear. I said why not upcycle it. Chrissy Soe did the tailoring. Introducing the YEmulke.”
He told The AJN, “I feel like if this guy’s coming out and spreading these anti-Jewish tropes, someone should say something back. I thought the YEmulke is an appropriate response, and good humoured. Don’t call meetings and have a big plan, maybe just make a freaking yarmulke.”
The response on Safran’s Instagram account was overwhelmingly positive, with Osher Gunsberg saying, “This is outstanding,” and someone else commenting, “Why not start a whole line – next up: The YEidel.”