Business & Art: Kanye x Adidas @ NYFW

adidas-yeezy-logoMy thoughts on Kanye and his fashion show: The guy has been in a dark place since his mom died. As an artist everything he’s done has represented that pretty much.  Consider that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy released with a 30 minute movie that showed the destruction of a Phoenix and the inevitable rise of the Phoenix. Hell even the Yeezus album was a deconstructed musical venture. You could literally call it an assault since there wasn’t anything really musical about it at all.

Which is exactly what happened with this clothing line. The line really reflects where he is and that’s what fashion is about. It’s a reflection of the designer. Now granted it does appear that the line is straight out of a post apocalypse, Matrix movie, and there really isn’t a lot of detail placed into the apparel, those who know what this is about (or think they know, like me) realize that the focus here was never going to be about apparel.

This was going to be Kanye’s all out assault on Nike. Consider this, there wasn’t really a word at all about this fashion week show for the last year and a half. Then all of a sudden we get the Adidas Yeezy 750 Boost boot presented at the same time that Nike is gearing up to take over New York for the NBA All Star Game. Nike controls the media during this time in regard to footwear. Who was Yeezy’s last employer in footwear? Nike. What does Kanye do? He orchestrates an attention grabbing story that pulls media coverage away from Nike and their annual attack on everyone’s pockets at All Star Weekend. This past week the story wasn’t the All Star Kobe, Lebron and KD shoes, it was how ugly, how terrible Yeezy’s shoe for adidas is and how bad his clothing line is. At 4:40 in the video above he makes the statement, “Don’t pay attention to anything you see in the news.” Here is an artist taking the time to use the media to attack New York Fashion week where he was ostracized by the Luxury lines and not allowed to create a line for those he had done work with. He makes his models the antithesis of what Fashion Week is. What happens? No one is talking about the rest of the lines released, they are talking about Kanye.

The whole show was a solid performance piece and while everyone laughs, peep the sold prices for his kicks on eBay:

This time last year and the year before the highest selling shoes at this time of the year were the Black History Month Nike, and the All Star Game Nike along with their Jordan Brand releases. I’m sure Nike will still do bigger numbers than Adidas this year, but I honestly don’t think anyone is talking about Nike right now and that is more like Nike than even Nike is like Nike (that make sense?).

I have first hand knowledge of the Kanye affect on Adidas. In the past year I’ve sold more adidas than I’ve ever sold in my sneaker store. Kanye’s work with Adidas is not the same as Pharrell’s. It’s not the same as Jay Z and 50 Cent with Reebok. Kanye’s work is a battle rap. It’s an attack on the control that Nike has over the footwear industry. I don’t think Kanye and Adidas have any real intentions to try and move apparel. Hence the clothing was never the focus. When you listen to the beginning of his fashion week Ye is doing promo work for Adidas and Boost their new footwear technology. In the low top running shoe used in the Fashion Week show, he uses Primeknit a material that Nike sued Adidas to prevent them from using as Nike launched Flyknit.

Ye is doing exactly what he wants. Is it a visionary line, no. Is it art? I think so. Would you buy Pollack or a Basquiat if you didn’t know who they were? Probably not, but the mocking and laughing by people all over the internet is a sign of how people are too quickly able to respond without considering every aspect.

At the end of the day, the guy created a line with a billion dollar brand, that he didn’t have to fund out of his own pocket. He was able to create which is rare for an artist to do today especially with a company looking over your shoulder. NOTE: I ain’t saying the clothes are dope! But, as an artist I admire the presentation, the introduction of the new song, the lighting, the post apocalyptic presentation, the marching out of models in platoon/army format, the removal of traditional beauty in a fashion show, the deconstruction of NYFW. I could add more, but you get the point.