It’s been a long journey
In January 2014, a video surfaced of Kanye West talking through his second capsule collection with French denim label A.P.C. (It’s since been scrubbed from the Internet.) Standing in a Paris showroom, West spent nearly fifteen minutes explaining to a room of fashion editors every stitch, detail, and decision that went into the military-inspired capsule. He talked at length about his specific design choices—like how he chose certain fabrics while picturing “dudes in Milan being shot by [street style photographer] Tommy Ton”—but also about how this capsule collection was symbolic of a new era for him personally, one where he might be seen not as a rapper or a celebrity, but as a fashion designer. “I think, like, this moment right here is maybe the first time where people can see, like, ‘Oh that’s his opinion,” he said. But Kanye’s history in the fashion industry is as long and involved as his career in music, and since he burst onto the scene in 2004 with The College Dropout, his impact on men’s fashion has been immense. Maybe even unmatched. And yet it’s only now, on the day that his new collaboration with Adidas will be unveiled at a highly anticipated fashion show in New York, that he’s finally getting the platform to express his vision in a way he feels he has long deserved.
2008: Kanye Wears Unreleased Colorway of the Nike Air Yeezy 1 At The Grammys
During his onstage performance at the ‘08 Grammys, fans got a first look at what would eventually become the Nike Air Yeezy, though the versions that would eventually hit stores would be much more colorful than the black/white colorway he wore on stage. Later in the year, on his Glow in the Dark Tour, Kanye wore an unreleased purple and orange colorway. This marked the first time Nike had given a signature shoe to a non-athlete, signaling Kanye as a pioneer in the sneaker world—and introducing a famous musician who wanted to reimagine the concept of “celebrity designer.”
April 2009: The Air Yeezy 1 Hits Stores
For all of three seconds. As expected (and thanks to a super limited quantity of shoes made), the Air Yeezy 1 sold out almost instantly. It retailed for $215, and was released in three colorways—grey (released in April), black (May), and tan (June).
September 2010: Kanye West Collaborates with Phillip Lim on the Wardrobe for West’s Short Film, “Runaway.”
Say what you will about the film’s plot and acting, but a couple of things are for sure—the music and wardrobe are great. Made specifically for West by designer Phillip Lim, the looks showed off a super-modern, elegant take on classic pieces like white button-down shirts, black trousers, and formalwear.
Late 2011: Kanye Wears Samples of the Air Yeezy 2 on the Watch The Throne Tour
The only thing to get more media attention than the leather kilt were the Nike Air Yeezy 2 samples West wore while on tour for WTT, which, like the Air Yeezy 1s he wore at the 2008 Grammys, were done up in a monochromatic color scheme that would never see store shelves.
April 2012: Kanye West Starts Dating Kim Kardashian
The world’s most talked about (and arguably most influential from a fashion perspective) couple is born.
June 2012: The Air Yeezy 2 Is Released in Two Colorways, “Platinum” and “Black Solar Red”
Like the first Air Yeezy, these kicks were priced higher than typical Nike offerings ($250 this time around), were extremely limited (certain reports say only 1,500 pairs were made), and kids lined up for weeks to get their hands on a pair. Today, pairs are for sale via Flight Club for over $5,000.
From a design perspective, the Air Yeezy 2 was a similar but much sleeker style than the original, and featured an embossed reptile print on the side that reinforced the dark, luxurious aesthetic West wore on the Watch The Throne tour. This would be the last silhouette Kanye designed for Nike.
October 2013: Kanye Collaborates With Maison Margiela on Yeezus Tour Wardrobe, Wes Lang on Tour Merch
After name-checking Margiela on Watch the Throne, West turned to the Maison for his Yeezus tour wardrobe, including silk robes, crystal masks, and custom versions of the brand’s “Future” sneaker. In fact, the entire wardrobe was custom-made for West and was never to be released by the house.
For the merchandise, West tapped popular Los Angeles-based artist Wes Lang, whose hand-drawn themes of death and religion complemented the album’s raw feel. One design, which featured a confederate flag, sparked controversy, to which West replied, “React how you want. The confederate flag represents slavery—that’s my abstract take on it—and I made the song ‘New Slaves’. So I took the Confederate flag, and I made it my flag now. So what you gonna do about it?”
December 2013: Kanye West Signs With Adidas
The transformation from the Swoosh to the three stripes became complete. Kanye got the joint venture deal he wanted, with royalties, and one worth more, according to his claims on the Breakfast Club radio show, than the $4 Million dollars a year he said Nike offered him for previously undisclosed deal.
February 2014: Nike Releases the Red Octobers Out of Nowhere
And just as soon as they arrived, they’re gone. Current asking price? $5500 on Flight Club. Kanye’s relationship with Nike? Officially dead.
August 2014: Kanye Tells GQ His New Album is On Hold So He Can Work on Adidas
“I was thinking it could somehow come out in June, like Yeezus, and just kill it for the summer. But then I’m like, I have to work on Adidas and be with my child.”
September 2014: Kanye Promises to Make His Adidas Collection Mass-Market
During one of his signature onstage rants while on the Yeezus Tour in Perth, Australia, West promised to make the new Adidas collection widely available: “I heard those screams [from people who weren’t able to purchase the limited edition Yeezy 2 Nike collaboration], and I wanted to do something about that. So when I ask next year if you were able to get the new Yeezys, you’ll be able to say you at least were able to try on a pair, to cop a pair.”
November 2014: Images of Kanye’s New Adidas Sneaker Leak
Thanks to a pair of wandering eyes (and a camera phone) from someone seated behind West on a commercial flight, we were given our first image of what would eventually become the Yeezy 750 Boost. The Internet exploded and the hype reached a fever pitch.
February 6, 2015: Ibn Jasper Instagrams the First Picture of the Yeezy 750 Boost
Kanye’s friend and longtime barber was the first person to unveil the official Yeezy 750 Boost while West rehearsed for the Grammys.
February 7, 2015: Kanye Steps Out in the 750 Boost for the First Time
Kanye and Kim attended the Roc Nation pre-Grammy brunch, which also marked the first time West was seen out in public wearing the gray suede high-tops.
This time though, he rocked ’em with a very cozy Haider Ackermann sweatsuit.
February 11, 2015: Kanye Reveals There Are More Yeezys Coming
On Ryan Seacrest’s show, West said that while only 9,000 pairs of the Yeezy 750 Boost will hit store shelves this Saturday, there is a lot more to come. “There’s only 9,000, and also because they’re $350, if they’re out of anyone’s price range…. I just want everyone to be safe and patient. I know you can run up on this 14-year-old kid and take his Yeezys, but just be patient because we’ll make more Yeezys…. When I was growing up, kids wanted Jordans; kids got killed for Jordans. Now that I’m in a position, I’m going to make sure everyone gets Yeezys.” So far, a year later, that hasn’t exactly come true.
February 12, 2015: Showtim
Yeezy season is finally here. And if we have any apprehensions, it’s that even with all the good will in the world, mass-market products are uncharted territory for West. In all of his prior collaborations, exclusivity was itself a crucial part of the appeal. This was especially true with the Air Yeezy 2s—a sneaker so rare, just seeing a pair in the street was special.
As a musician, what makes Kanye West one of the greats is his ability to innovate—to push the sonic boundaries of hip-hop. The raw aggression of Yeezus is what is made it a critical success, but it also sold less than any Kanye West solo album ever has. And generally speaking, it’s easier to get people to change the song on their phone than it is to get them to change their shoes. Weird music is usually a personal, private experience. Weird clothes are a public display of taste and personality. And if West really wants to become the next Ralph Lauren, that’s going to take some time.
But with all eyes on him and (in all likelihood) an instant sell-out on his hands, West’s on the right track to becoming the force in fashion he believes he can be.
June 2015: The First Low-Top Yeezy Boost, the $200 350 “Turtle Dove” Arrives
It drops on Adidas’s Confirmed app, online, at various retailers, though few are actually able to secure a pair.
First released in Turtledove in June 2015, the adidas Yeezy Boost 350 was very different again – far more traditional and understated. A low-rise lightweight every day sneaker, the adidas Yeezy Boost 350 was similar to Nike Roshe Run, it’s soft look created using a one-piece primeknit construction. The shoe featured one visible line of stitching on the front, canvas detailing on the heel, black YZY detailing on the inner side and adidas boost technology in the rubber sole. Retailing for $200, the sneaker was available in a range of stores The Pirate Black colourway followed Turtle Dove in August 2015, with Moonrock released three months later，and the oxford tan release after then .
2016: Kanye unveils yeezy season 2
The Yeezy Boost 350 V2 was revealed at the Yeezy Season 3 show and was released on September 24, 2016. It is considered a remake of the previous Yeezy Boost 350 and features several outer changes, such as a different pattern, removed heel tab, and a large stripe running around the outer side of the shoe with the words “SPLY-350”. The sole also has been updated to be transparent and features full-length visibility of the boost material midsole through a grid-pattern opening on the outsole. In September they released the “Beluga” featuring an all Grey outsole and primeknit, with a large colored orange stripe with the words “SPLY-350”. On November 23, 2016, three new colorways released, “Copper”, “Green”, and “Red”, featuring an all black outsole and primeknit, with a large colored stripe with the words “SPLY-350”.
A Core Black/Core White colorway, dubbed “Oreo”, was released December 17, 2016, which also featured a black outsole and prime knit, as well as a white stripe across the shoe. The black and red “bred” colorway released February 11, 2017. A “zebra” colorway was released on February 25, 2017. In April 2017, there will be a release of the colorway of this model labeled as “Triple White”.All shoe colorways have been released for a retail price of $220.