“Eventually everybody who wants to get Yeezys will get Yeezys”, Kanye promised in 2015 after he signed what was described by Adidas as “the most significant partnership between a non-athlete and a sports brand” the world had ever seen.
At the end of last year, Kanye finally delivered on his promise and the floodgates were opened. The duo released the Yeezy Boost 350 in huge quantities, giving worldwide fans direct access at retail price.
This was followed by the restocked Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Cream White and the Yeezy Boost 700 Mauve, neither of which sold out online and both sneakers were eventually pulled from sale.
However, this doesn’t seem to have phased Adidas, whose CEO Kasper Rorsted just confirmed more than twenty Yeezys are dropping this year. That’s almost double than in previous years.
So, what’s going on?
Yeezy is going mainstream
The sneaker industry generally follows the supply and demand model, but not in the usual way. For years, brands have opted for less supply and more demand to make their money and keep consumers hooked.
Yeezy took this one step further, selling its pairs at such low stock levels the world went mad. Intentional scarcity was key to the whole operation, fueling the hype.
In the business of exclusive trainer drops, if retailers are still left with stock within the first hour it’s considered a problem. This was never an issue for Yeezy, whose high-heat releases used to sell out in under an hour on the Adidas store and in seconds on partner retailers’ websites.
Yeezy is a big commercial success for Adidas and Kanye but the only way to make more profit out the brand is to make and sell more pairs. Adidas is betting huge on Kanye West, as the Stan Smith and the Superstar are no longer “cool” according to its CEO, with between 20 and 30 launches a year the new status quo.
Don’t worry, the hype isn’t over…just yet. On March 16th, Yeezy did something rather clever and released a trio of different colourways for the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 as regional exclusives.
“Clay” was released in North and South America, “True Form” in Europe and Africa, and “Hyperspace” in Asia and Australia.
It was a win-win, Yeezy could sell to a mass-market and sneaker fans felt they were getting something exclusive…the kicks were instantly collectables.
In the future, we can expect to see more of this from Mr West and other sneaker brands fighting for a slice of the pie.
The knock-on effect for resellers
The resale market for sneakers is spiralling with tech-savvy youths making eye-watering sums of money. In the UK, the trainer resale market alone is worth an estimated £200 million annually and is set to grow upwards of 20 percent a year as ‘sneakerhead’ culture enters the mainstream.
Back in the day, Yeezys were a high-value investment, with pairs such as the 350 Boost Turtledove reselling at an average cost nearly 900 percent more than the RRP.
Another more recent example is the Yeezy Zebra restock. If you managed to get your hands on a pair in every size and you resold them quickly, you could easily have made £50k in a day.
Once considered a safe bet, the resale value of Yeezys is now somewhat turbulent to put it nicely.
Kanye himself could be to blame, with his provocative public outbursts, or that Yeezys have become a victim of their own success. The mass-market releases just aren’t creating the same level of frenzy because people are much more likely to get their hands on a pair at retail price.
One thing is for sure though, as long as Kanye remains a creative and respected artist, all will be OK for the Yeezy empire.
Image credits: The Sole Supplier