5 Ways Kanye West Has Forever Transformed Sneaker Culture and Fashion

  • Kanye West x Louis Vuitton sneaker collaboration
    Signature sneaker collaborations

    If you’ve been in the sneaker game long enough, you will know that artists and sneakers have forever been linked through very limited run collaborations. Some of the most sought after examples include the Roc-A-Wear Air Force 1s or the Wu-Tang Dunks. When it comes to Kanye’s sneaker collaborations it’s more than just stamping a logo on an established sneaker; he’s created brand new models.

    Before Kanye created the first pair of Yeezys, many might know about his famous Louis Vuitton collaboration. His signature Jasper model was the first collaboration a luxury brand had with a hip-hop artist. And he was involved not in just choosing the colors, but also the design aspect of the shoe.

    The DNA from his first shoe with LV has been noticeably passed down to the Yeezys. Found throughout his sneaker family tree line has been a signature strap going across the foot. Brands have risked a big deal in giving him free rein on design and he has delivered with hit after hit.


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  • Kanye West adidas fashion show

    Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

    Artist x fashion collaborations on a large scale

    Since the days of Pastel, Kanye has been trying to get a clothing collection off the ground. After a few bumps in the road it looks like it’s finally getting some traction with his adidas partnership. This time around he has the sportswear giant’s production capabilities and reach that he didn’t have before when he funded his projects out of his own pocket.

    There is a history of musicians collaborating with brands for small capsule collections. Take Rita Ora and adidas for example. Kanye’s new partnership with adidas is on a much larger scale than any artist in the past. He is the first rapper to have an exclusive deal with the sportswear giant where he gets to create his own collection for multiple seasons, similar to that of designers Yohji Yamamoto and Jeremy Scott.

    His collection has started 2015 off with a bang. He’s already presented it at New York Fashion Week. Customers got to reserve the new Yeezys on a mobile app. To top it off, ‘Ye was even present at the store releases to personally strap on the shoes on the feet of some very happy and surprised customers. Judging by the success and overall press that the collaboration has covered so far, we might see other brands follow suit and start endorsing big names in music.

    And although Run-D.M.C. has forever been associated with adidas, years from now kids growing up today will associate ‘Ye with the three stripes like kids born in the ‘80s and ‘90s associated Run-D.M.C. with the German brand.

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  • adidas Yeezy Boost

    Jordan Brand

    Sneaker releases

    Shoes sold at stores often attract mass crowds, which is why so many of you are visiting Champs Sports through mobile. That’s related to what went down during the initial launch of the Yeezy Boost, which was featured on adidas’ Confirmed app, allowing sneakerheads to reserve their shoes at the store on the spot.

    As technology improves and the years pass us by, we’ll see more and more folks going the digital route to get the shoes they need in their lives. Much of that perspective started, we’ll say when we look back on it, with Kanye’s latest release.

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  • Yeezus tour T-shirts

    swimfinfan/Flickr Creative Commons

    Collectable tour merch

    The only tour merch worth looking at these days are vintage rock band tees from the ‘70s and ‘80s. That changed when Kanye tapped famous artists to direct some of the illustrations for his tour tees. This all started around the Graduation album, when he recruited Japan’s Takashi Murakami to work on his album art. The tour merch that followed was done in the same style, featuring the Dropout Bear wearing shutter shades.

    Then on the Watch the Throne tour, ‘Ye, along with Jay Z, recruited Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci to do the album artwork as well as collaborate on tees. His most recent Yeezus tour is when the demand took on a fevered pitch when he collaborated with artist Wes Lang on not just tees but bomber jackets and snapbacks.

    image via swimfinfan/Flickr Creative Commons

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  • sneaker releases

    Justin Wolfe/Flickr Creative Commons

    Creating a continuous buzz

    The buzz around every Kanye product is somewhere near Jordan levels. You can argue that artists before him had successful collections, but you can also find most of those on the sales racks. It’s hard to be consistent in a fickle fashion market, but Kanye has proved that he could move product. When was the last time you saw something Kanye made sitting on a sales rack? Probably never, and they hold their value real well as collector’s items.

    Now the game has changed since production numbers have jumped with his adidas partnership. It’s too early to tell if the buzz will keep turning into sales. But if his Yeezy Boosts sold 9,000 pairs during the first weekend, that’s not a bad start.

    image via Justin Wolfe/Flickr Creative Commons

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  • Kanye West x Louis Vuitton sneaker collaboration
  • Kanye West adidas fashion show
  • adidas Yeezy Boost
  • Yeezus tour T-shirts
  • sneaker releases

Imagine pop culture without Kanye West. It would be a little boring, wouldn’t it? West is one of the most polarizing figures in entertainment today. Whether you are a fan or not, one thing everyone can agree on is that every move he makes is an event that moves website traffic like an 8.0 magnitude earthquake hitting the Richter scale. And when ‘Ye gets down to creating, he always puts in one hundred thousand trillion percent into executing his vision.

It’s not just music that Kanye is making noise in these days. Not only is he one of the most stylish celebs walking this planet, he’s been trying to get everyone on his level through fashion, and the most buzzed-about sneakers since Air Jordans.

It’s not just sneakerheads that want a piece of the Yeezys; even casual fans want to get their hands on them. He even has athletes wanting to wear his shoe, when it should be the other way around. For somebody that’s not an athlete, a signature shoe that everyone from a casual fan to an NBA player wants is a tough accomplishment.

Yeezy season has officially started. The first two months of 2015 have been nothing but talk about his adidas collaboration. Kanye has been working and tweaking his fashion vision for a while now and all is seemingly set to blow this year. But along the way he’s been a game-changer. Here are 5 Ways Kanye West Has Forever Transformed Sneaker Culture and Fashion.

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