Kanye West gave an unforgettable performance at the 2011 Essence Music Festival which is getting the same critical acclaim as his riveting show at Coachella. His fashion statements are creating just as much buzz.

A visionary in music and showmanship, it’s no surprise that West’s creativity spills over into the clothing realm. Rumors surrounding a new clothing line appear on the blogs almost monthly and he can already count an internship at Louis Vuitton, regular appearances at Fashion Week and a design collaboration with George Condo and M/M Paris to his credit. But his real fashion cred developed on the red carpet and the stage.

Anna Del Russo recently named him one of the Most Influential People in Mens Fashion on her blog and here are 4 reasons why we agree with her:

1. He takes risks.

Whether a leopard print Givenchy jacket or fringe Trussardi sneakers, Kanye West boldy experiments with trends imbuing each outfit a unique, memorable flair.

2. He isn’t afraid to break stringent Mens Fashion rules.

Most men hold fast to rules that dictate which fashions are “masculine” enough to wear. Kanye West pays them no mind. He’s fearlessly worn florals and even a Women’s blouse giving both pieces a masculine edge.

3. He’s built ties with today’s top designers.

While the bond between designers and entertainers is nothing new, you rarely see that connection among male artists. Kanye West has developed relationships with the top designers in the game from Phoebe Philo of Celine to whom he presented a CFDA Award to Riccardo Tisci who designed the “Watch The Throne” cover for his album with Jay-Z.

4. He is educated about the business.

While most male celebrities become designers seemingly on a whim, Kanye West went the humble route of interning at an established fashion house and learning everything he could the traditional way before jumping into the design world. We respect that. And though his “Christian Dior Denim Flow song” was an ode to modelizing, we dig that he can name all the top faces on the runway.

What do you think of Kanye West’s influence in Mens Fashion?

-Jessica C. Andrews

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