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Fans line up around the block for Kanye West’s European pop-up shops

Six young Germans show off their just-purchased Kanye West clothing at a pop-up shop in Berlin.
Everett Rosenfeld | CNBC

BERLIN — Twenty-somethings dressed entirely in black sprinted down a sleepy street Friday afternoon to get a shot at a must-see American import: the Kanye West pop-up store.

But the hordes of Beatlemania-like runners were likely out of luck: A hundreds-long line was already snaking out from the 032c Workshop art gallery and down to the end of the block, and some had already begun turning away in frustration.

Berlin's event is one of 21 global "Pablo" pop-up locations launched by West globally on Friday to celebrate his "The Life of Pablo" album. Three opened in Europe, 13 are in the U.S., Australia is hosting two and Singapore, Canada and South Africa are offering one each.

The pop-ups have proven lucrative for West in the past. He has said the New York event earlier this year generated $2 million in sales of items including thrift-store jackets customized by West for $400.

The German iteration — slated for Friday and Saturday at the Brutalist church-turned-gallery — had the looks of another potential success as young Germans paraded their new hoodies up and down the block, offering words of encouragement to those still in line.

"I feel close to Kanye: I like his creativity," said Chris, a 24-year-old Berlin native who joked his profession is to "live the good life."

"But it's also the hype kind of thing ... but it's also the looks [of the clothing]," he added, explaining why he'd just spent about 1,000 euros, or about $1,100, on the merchandise.

Chris's haul was on the pricier side of his group of friends — all of whom had waited in line since 1 a.m. for the chance to purchase the clothing. Landing the 76th place in line granted the group a 13-hour wait, they said.

Gian-Luca, a 17-year-old Berliner, was beaming despite the long wait.

"It was an awesome night: You talk with the people, and it was very nice, but also exhausting," said the teenager, who spent 165 euros at the store. "At some point you just want to break up and go home, but then you think about why you're here."

Gian-Luca's rationale for persevering would likely have pleased the famously confident West: "He's, in my point of view, a genius."

The Associated press contributed to this report.