by Ferano Sharman
Kanye West wants to transform the footwear business. Naturally, he has already done so, changing the boundaries for how major brands work with artists and expanding the scope of hype footwear into long-term financial success. He is now trying to defend the artwork created in collaboration with such brands by artists.
West criticizes the industry’s propensity to dilute contributors’ designs for projects in which they have no direct involvement. He has chosen to go up against Adidas, the firm that makes his Yeezy footwear, in this conflict.
West criticized his collaborator in an Instagram post on Monday for the Adilette 22 slide, which he claims is an imitation of his own Yeezy Slide, which is also produced by Adidas. He addressed a direct message to Adidas CEO Kasper Rsted via social media.
West posted a lengthy Instagram statement on Monday criticizing Adidas, saying, “I’m not standing for this blatant copying no more.” The message is still relevant even if his post was later removed and his Instagram account was once more shut.
According to West, these shoes “reflect the disregard that those in positions of authority have for the talent.” This sneaker is a knockoff of the Yeezy model created by Adidas.
This is a sin committed by all shoe companies. Beyond the initiatives that bear his name, Virgil Abloh had a significant impact on Nike. There are a few pairs of Nike shoes that aren’t made by Tom Sachs but closely resemble his designs; there are allegations that the artist was offended by this. Being able to use their magic is one advantage of working with an outside entity. There is a difference between being inspired and copying something within. West wants to redesign this boundary. It’s a worthy cause that might tip the scales in favor of artists’ corporate footwear partners.
Although the Yeezy Slide design is not particularly new, it is easy to see how it is similar to the Adilette 22. The basic sandal-style footbed of the Adilette slide, a timeless piece of comfy footwear, has a three-striped portion toward the front. The most recent design resembles a Yeezy-fied departure that has been transformed into a one-piece and is styled in West’s signature light, earthy colors. The KidSuper and Zellerfeld joint shoe, which also included topographical texture, is the first example that came to me when I compared the Adilette 22 to the Yeezy Slide. However, the Yeezy Slide isn’t the only obvious forerunner to the Adilette 22. The KidSuper sneaker and West’s are on either side of the Adilette 22.
After the release of the Yeezy Slide, Adidas released its version of a long-standing product. Before West revitalized that particular shoe type, the brand had not attempted to rethink the Adilette in this way. The Adilette 22 slide, though, isn’t even the most blatantly copied design Adidas has created using West’s aesthetic for non-Yeezy footwear. This has been going on for a while.
There was a substantial selection of inline sneakers that resembled the Yeezy line’s output in the middle of the 2010s, when West was just starting out at Adidas, despite the fact that West had no direct involvement in them. The Adidas Tubular Invader looks a lot like the Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 in diet form. In essence, the Adidas Tubular Shadow is a more affordable and budget-friendly version of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350. When creating new shoes, one Adidas designer was instructed to use the 350’s wildly successful last. Even though he didn’t always make it known, West has long found this style of improvisation to be infuriating.
When authentic Adidas Yeezys were so much more difficult to obtain, the commonly available Adidas sneakers that looked like Yeezys made a lot more sense. West’s shoes were particularly scarce in the beginning of his protracted partnership with the company. After joining Adidas at the end of 2013, he began to release merchandise starting in 2015 with the practically impossible-to-find Yeezy Boost 750.
Adidas created sneakers that resembled Yeezys during that time in order to fill a need. West is filling that gap by himself now that Yeezys are made in greater quantities and are not too tough to get. Thankfully, save from the Adilette 22 slip and that impending Foam Runner-looking item, the habit of producing diet Yeezys has largely disappeared.
West has been open about how an old Nike shoe served as the inspiration for his most popular sneaker, the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350. His intention was to challenge the omnipresent Nike Roshe Run, a once-popular minimalist model that is now primarily the focus of memes. His 350 also takes inspiration from the Roshe, employing a similar slanting design and hefty sole. He contributed to the Roshe’s extinction. The difference is that West raised the shoe rather than lowering it by utilizing cutting-edge technology like Primeknit and Boost. The 350 outperformed the Roshe in terms of cultural effect thanks to the difference in materials and tastes.
Another distinction is that West borrowed ideas from a rival, Nike, for that Adidas design. In the sneaker wars, sniping enemy shapes and technology is commonplace. However, stealing from one’s own catalog is more akin to treachery, as Adidas has done with West’s work.
The relationship between Adidas and West as a whole, which has been extremely advantageous for both parties, is not reflected in this particular incident involving the slides. In 2016, West committed to a new contract that is rumored to last through 2026, turning them into long-term collaborators. His billion-dollar net worth is significantly influenced by the Adidas Yeezy empire. Adidas, a company that currently lacks truly intriguing footwear, nevertheless depends on West and the Yeezy line. His contributions to the company were essential to Adidas’ comeback in the middle of the 2010s.
And without the assistance Adidas offers—many of the beloved Yeezy shoes were partly designed by Adidas designers—that task simply would not be possible. Adidas backed West by signing him to a new contract that provided more money and creative freedom when Nike refused to grant him royalties. Without the support of Adidas, his accomplishments in the footwear industry would be much less. On his 2015 song “Facts,” West acknowledged that he need the infrastructure of the sneaker manufacturer.
Recall “Facts”? A diss track directed against a rival sneaker manufacturer was released on New Year’s Eve by the greatest musician of the twenty-first century. That kind of intense dedication goes much beyond the standard boilerplate press releases about “deep relationships” and “mutual respect” from Random Collaborator A teaming up with Random Sneaker Company B to produce a small batch of Unrelated Sneaker C.
This level of involvement and commitment has contributed to the Adidas Yeezy line’s popularity. The result has been the most intriguing and original collaboration between a sneaker business and an artist in the annals of footwear. The Yeezy line within Adidas should thus gain a more protected position as a result of that. To the extent that it should be permitted at all, West shouldn’t be informed when a sneaker that closely resembles his is released into the market.
West’s advice may come from a position of authority in the business, but it is nonetheless helpful to lesser-known artists who have collaborated with shoe makers only to see them hold onto their secret sauce long after a contract has ended. People with much less influence than him experience it frequently. What he is requesting is a discussion regarding this line of employment. The win will be much more than simply a personal one if West can overturn this industry norm and force sneaker firms to move toward a position where agreement regarding similar designs is more widespread.
Sign Up for our newsletter
Follow us on social