On December 2nd, Footwear News honored Kanye West with the “Shoe Of The Year Award,” that acknowledged the success of Ye’s collaboration with Adidas in the creation of the Adidas Yeezy Boost. Although the rapper turned Designer generated less than favorable reviews for both seasons of his YEEZY fashion line during New York Fashion Week, the Yeezy Boost continues to exponentially climb in popularity. The Adidas Yeezy Boost shoe crashed servers, sparked extraordinary resale value, and even created a need for mob control in stores. This is the first time in pop culture that a pair of shoes has created a comparable competition for Nike’s Jordan brand. The Yeezy Boost sold out in 12 minutes and even went on eBay for resale at $10,000. The infamous rapper’s ability to create such a successful product may infuriate many who cannot stand him for qualified reasons; however, you also cannot deny his determination to be the designer he thinks he is capable of being. How Kanye was able to re-awaken the Adidas fashion line attributed to merging influence with design.
“Fashion is so important because designs are trained thinkers of taste. The reason I have been trying to build relationships in that world is because being a celebrity is the highest form of communication – we are like walking networks or TV shows or brands. I think bad taste is vulgar – it’s like cursing. I believe the world can be saved by design, because what is the most vulgar thing someone could do? Good taste is the opposite of that.” Ok – maybe after reading this you want to punch Kanye West in the face. Consider removing Kanye West out of the equation and keep an objective point of view on what it means to have taste.
Taste is shaped by exposure and experiences and, as a result, is a byproduct of exploration, the act of opening up to new perspectives. With new perspectives come new understandings. The idea that having training or refined taste can alter society’s perception is somewhat idealistic; however, in today’s society where access to resources is at arms reach with modern media, designing a culture you want to see is not completely far off from reality. Removing Kanye West’s strong opinions on social issues and considering the practice of defining your own value system in relation to design and art can result in the creation of dictating the taste of many who choose to agree with it.
The Adidas’ Yeezy Boost is a result of successful innovation. Sales at Adidas are up 14% and net income is up 10%, in part due to Ye’s partnership with Adidas. Eager shoppers spent days camped outside of stores prior to the shoe’s release date. Don’t be completely fooled by the shoe’s design innovation though. The Boost shoes may have a cool design, but the shoe isn’t marketing them on design alone. The Boost shoes also use a proprietary plastic from a German chemicals company called BASF SE that gives the shoe super athletic performance.
Gerd Manz, vice president future at Adidas, tested the shoes proprietary material and found that it released far more of the energy input than any other sole material he knows of. The result of the material includes higher leaps and springier strides. It makes sense they named the shoe Boost.
Marketing the shoes materials and performance is not something that Adidas’ has done for some time. Incorporating the new material into the Boost shoes plays into the brands’ technical strength. And Kanye West’s design gave the shoes’ exceptional performance mass appeal.