There’s no doubt Kanye West has evolved into a fashion savant. With his adidas Yeezy Boosts ranking near the pinnacle of every best-of sneaker list for 2015, West looks poised to do even bigger things in the future. And according to one Yeezy enthusiast, Kanye is just getting his feet wet.
“I knew they would be a hit,” says Tareq Q of the Yeezy Boosts. “But I was surprised by the amount of different models that were released. I knew of the 750s, I knew of the 350s, but I didn’t think that they would have dropped in four different colorways in one year.”
Hailing from Kuwait, Tareq Q, @kickstq on Instagram, has gained notoriety through his unique taste for streetwear. Sporting an Instagram account of over 70,000 followers, the fashion enthusiast regular posts Air Jordans with patented deftness. But, undoubtedly, what’s made him so popular among his followers is his penchant for stylizing Yeezy product. In fact, you’ve likely stumbled upon some of his most shared Kanye-specific collection pictures without even realizing it.
“[Kanye has] created a style that nobody has ever seen before,” Tareq Q says. “He’s gained such a following because of that. It’s something different. It’s something super dope and stylish and it’s made him an icon.”
While many argue Kanye’s victory so far is merely a product of hype, @kickstq believes we should look elsewhere for evidence.
“His music is just so genius,” he says of ‘Ye. “I feel like it’s so genius that his credibility and producing, anything, is agreed upon. Just the stuff he does with music kind of carries over to anything he chooses to do creatively.”
While Kanye’s ascent within streetwear has given him both the platform and confidence to challenge the culture’s biggest brands, Tareq Q feels it might be difficult for Yeezy to actually jump over the Jumpman.
“Maybe in 2016, Kanye might get close. But ever? No,” he says. “Jordan Brand just appeals to a much larger market and they have Nike behind them, which is just a conglomerate in producing in mass amounts. He’s really pushing it if he thinks he’s going to surpass Jordan Brand.”
The one aspect West has on his side? The versatility of his sneakers. The Yeezys allow Tareq Q almost unlimited versatility when putting a fit together.
“Depending on the model, I would go all-black and just rock any one of the 350s,” he says. “All-black with the ‘Moonrocks.’ All-black with the tans. All-black with the ‘Turtle Doves.’ The same goes for the 750s as well. It’s really easy to go black with any shoe. I think it really stands out with the contrast if you go all-black with the ‘Moons.’
“Another look I usually do with the lighter models like the grey 750s is I’ll go with a light-washed denim on the bottom to kind of blend them in with the ‘Turtle Dove’ or the grey 750s. Then, I’ll wear whatever on top, like a black hoodie.”
During West’s ascent in the crowded fashion world, finding acceptance from his contemporaries was difficult. Many fashion pundits initially shunned him because of his inexperience and brash attitude. Once Kanye realized he would need to force his way in, the 21-time Grammy Award winner took his talents to Nike in 2009 and later adidas in 2013.
“What appeals to me personally is just his fearlessness,” says @kickstq. “He just goes out there and really doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He doesn’t care to fail. He’s willing to experiment, and that’s what kind of made him a trendsetter.
“His actual skill that sets him apart from other stylish people are two things. One would be his color palette. The way he’s able to put colors together, like colors that don’t even match with each other, and just make them look perfect. He does it so effortlessly. Another thing he has mastered–and I feel that nobody else has done this–is his ability to mix formal wear with streetwear. He’ll go with a suit and instead of a suit jacket or blazer, he’ll throw on like a Kimono jacket and make it look super dope. Then, he’ll do an oversized hoodie with skinny jeans and some Chelsea boots. It looks perfect.”
After watching the reception for his products last year, Kanye is switching things up for everybody in 2016. By vowing to make his elusive sneaker more accessible for customers, Kanye will be expanding his reach and also putting more smiles on people’s faces. Because of that, Tareq Q sees the upside in ‘Ye’s power move.
“I think it would help because it would create a new market,” he says. “Already with the releases in 2015, you have people who have never even heard of Kanye just dying for these shoes and realizing how hard it is to get them through retail. With more releases, people are just going to buy into the hype.”
The idea of Kanye’s sneakers becoming more available for the public may also have its downside, especially for avid sneaker collectors like @kickstq.
“As a sneakerhead and someone who has been happy about limited releases, I’m afraid that this is going to affect its exclusivity with so many coming out at four times as much,” he says. “Everyone is going to be in Yeezys. It’s not going to be exclusive anymore.”
Regardless, it appears Kanye West and his sneakers are going to get even bigger.