Image Credit: Yeezy
Anything Kanye West has worked on has always been given an air of exclusivity. From leaked albums to his fashion collaborations, when West is involved, people go crazy. Simply hark back to the 2014 surprise release of the Nike Red Octobers, they sold out within literal seconds.
So when Kanye jumped ship to Adidas, people expected similar results. Limited drops of crazy designs were a race against the clock (or internet bots) to purchase. This happened, consistently, there were even numerous occasions where people camped for hours and days outside stores for the chance to get what was essentially at the time, a black sports shoe.
In 2016, Kanye West promised “Eventually everybody who wants to get Yeezys will get Yeezys”. 4 years on, that’s actually starting to happen. Yeezy sneakers are becoming more readily available. That’s not to say they sit on shelves at failing department stores, there are just more Yeezy sneakers being made. The hype isn’t dying down either, a quick google and we’re shown dozens of ‘Yeezy’ articles, written daily, chronicling rumours, new colourways or just a celebrity sporting the brand. You don’t see that with New Balance and Vans and you certainly don’t see that with any other celebrity sneaker.
Adidas and Kanye West have long planned their marketing scheme, and it’s now finally paying dividends. The brand no longer relies on word of mouth or hyped up social media gossip. On StockX, the Yeezy 350 ranks second as the most traded sneaker model of 2020, only behind the Air Jordan 1. Although the model is still incredibly popular, it can be found at almost retail price on the site.
Yeezy currently sits in 6th place, up 10 spots from the previous year on the StockX ‘Top Brands 2020’ list. In between New Balance and Vans, it’s clear that they have slowly carved their own niche. In fact, Adidas ranks third in brands for total trades in 2020, making the case that Kanye West’s work is responsible for 20% of trades on the reselling site. Yeezy has used the novelty of scarcity and turned it into something very profitable; an abundance of well designed, strong-selling sneakers.
The Yeezy 350 is now a stable selling shoe. Throughout 2020 it has been restocked and released in a number of colourways. This allows more creative freedom for both Yeezy and Adidas to bypass any hype and focus on more creative endeavours. A perfect example would be the Yeezy slides, which saw a 400% sales growth in 2020.
The brand can and should be even more optimistic going into 2021. Despite the antics that Kanye West has put us through in the past year, the brand continued to grow. That means that either there is no limit to what West can do in the eyes of fans or, it means that the brand is now its own entity, separated from the rapper. Either way, in 2021, everything’s coming up Yeezy.
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