Kanye’s Yeezy brand is just getting started
Kanye West is a man that has been in the headlines recently for a lot of different reasons, but when it comes to fashion, he’s a trendsetter. He is right at the top of the industry, with his Yeezy brand showing no signs of slowing down. #TheStreetScene takes a look at the journey of the brand, from start to present, and what is in line for the future of the iconic streetwear brand.
Switching over to the other side
Over a decade ago, Kanye West had a strong relationship with major sports apparel brand Nike, where he collaborated with them on a Nike Air Yeezy trainer between the years of 2007 and 2009. The trainers did exceptionally well by selling out instantly, showing that Kanye had a massive influence within not only just the music industry but the fashion industry also. Unfortunately, the relationship turned sour, and Kanye and his new Yeezy brand were looking for another collaborator. On Tuesday 3rd December 2013, Adidas formally announced the partnership with Kanye West’s brand Yeezy as Adidas were looking to strengthen their sales due to a poor couple of years in comparison to their main competitor Nike. This was a perfect match for the two sides, as it started something truly special.
Different, but still definitely Kanye
The first Yeezy trainer got a lot of attention due to its very unique design. The Yeezy Boost 750 had a futuristic style, with ‘utopia’ being the main source of Kanye and Yeezy’s influence. The first colour-way was limited to 9000 pairs at its first release online, and it sold out instantly. Even though this first set of Adidas Yeezy’s got a lot of stick because of their design, the Adidas boost material made them extremely comfortable, and they were a must-have set of trainers for sneakerheads around the globe. The limited number of pairs released also made them even more desirable, forcing Adidas to release more colours of the 750 model online and even in store.
The iconic Yeezy Boost 350
On the 27th June 2015, due to how well the 750 Yeezy style sold, the first Yeezy Boost 350 was released to the general public. This was a monumental moment within the trainer industry as Kanye West, a music artist taking the plunge in to sneaker-design, proved to the world that his Yeezy business was here to take over the entire footwear industry. The “Turtle Dove” was the first colourway released in the Yeezy 350 style; a cream and black coloured print across the sporty trainer design. The limited number of shoes sold out instantly when they were released. Originally sold at $200 for retail price, this pair of trainers now sell for over $1000!
The attempted journey in to clothing
Kanye realised how well his Yeezy brand was doing across the footwear industry, but that wasn’t enough for him. He needed to influence more than just what we wear on our feet; he wanted to create a clothing empire. His ready-to-wear collection of Yeezy Season 1 clothing, inspired from military style, was released on the 29th October 2015. Even though the footwear side of Yeezy was selling like no tomorrow, the Yeezy clothing line didn’t do as well, and so Adidas announced that they would no longer continue with it.
Other Yeezy styles
Due to how successful the first two styles of Adidas Yeezy’s were, there have been several other styles released since. One of the most popular ones were the Yeezy Powerphase Calabasas, released in March 2017. Putting a Yeezy spin on the popular style of Adidas trainer from the 1980’s, they were sold at a limited amount for a cheaper price of $140 in comparison to the other Yeezy shoes.
Another popular style released was the Yeezy Boost 700 in August 2017. This was seen as the ultimate “dad trainer” at the time, but it set a trend for “dad trainers” to come back in to fashion, with brands such as Nike and New Balance subsequently releasing chunky trainers to appeal to this audience. At first, this style was hated on by social media users, but the trainer still sold out within minutes when released online, clearly showing that Kanye still has a massive influence on the market due to his name.
Even though there have been so many different colours released since the original first-released styles, the most recently released style of Yeezy is the Yeezy Boost 380. Looking like they’ve came straight from out of space, the “Alien” colourway gives us the impression that Kanye is always looking forward in to the future.
The Future of Yeezy
The main talking point of the future of the Yeezy brand is their collaboration with clothing company Gap. Kanye has always had a thing for Gap since working for them as a teenager, and struck a ten-year deal with the brand, likely going to save the Gap brand from completely disappearing off of the face of the Earth. The company have had a harsh couple of years recently, with the brand losing revenue as they struggled to modernise themselves in a tough retail market. The Yeezy Gap collaboration will allow Kanye to express his creative mind, with the two parties hoping to make over $1 billion in annual sales as they are set to release their first set of clothes in early 2021.
Kanye West has proved that anyone can create something if they put their mind to it, with his Yeezy brand growing bigger and bigger as the years go on. It is an exciting time to be a Yeezy and Kanye fan.
Written by Matthew Nicoll for #TheStreetScene