Music artist-come-fashion designer Kanye West is following in his wife’s footsteps and appears to be ‘breaking the internet’ in more ways than one. Not only did his Grammys interruption of Beck make the headlines last week, on a less controversial note – he presented his successful shoe line ‘Yeezy Boost’ at New York Fashion Week last Thursday.
The new collaboration with Adidas was unveiled at the show, following success with Nike Air Yeezy, Air Yeezy II and a partnership with Louis Vuitton. 9,000 limited edition Adidas Yeezy 750 Boost sneakers went on sale on Valentine’s Day, exclusively in New York, priced at $350 each.
The event highlighted the importance of ‘star names’, as a list of celebrity’s supported the artist, including Sean ‘P Diddy’, Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna and Justin Bieber. With 20% of 18-24 year olds believing that celebrity endorsement is a fundamental fashion influencer, these names are sure to make an impact. “He has taken celebrity endorsement to the next level where he is creating content that fits into people’s lives, rather than just badging a product. It’s hard to ignore,” said Jo White, MD at Five by Five marketing agency.
The promotion was treated as a fashion launch, rather than a sports shoe launch, which was “in keeping with West’s world view of everything he does being art’. It demonstrates the power of celebrity influence and the importance of creating a brand that supports him as an artist, a brand his fans can identify with.
If past collaborations are anything to go by, West should be confident with his new range. The singer’s Nike Air Yeezy 2 sneakers sold out within 11 minutes of going live in 2013. On eBay, some were selling for as high as $15,000, $14,755 more than their original $245 price tag. However, his new designs are sure to ruffle a few feathers. There has been tension with Nike ever since West’s partnership with the sport’s brand was dissolved in December 2013. Currently, a video that sees West offering a fan new Adidas Yeezy Boost trainers, if the boy parts with his Nike versions is trending on YouTube.
Promoting his brand through a number of media stunts has provided West with sound publicity in the lead up to his debut at New York Fashion Week – something that Editor of US Vogue’s Anna Wintour’s nodding smiles reaffirmed. White supports this adding, “an artist like Kanye hasn’t got a choice but to launch with this kind of fanfare – he has his own brand values to live up to”.