Would sneaker hype be the same without celebrities?
There is no denying that over the past few years the sneaker culture has blown up bigger than anyone could of ever anticipated. With the continual help from celebrity hype and limited runs of creps, we beg the question, is this once pure culture now becoming tainted by the ever growing influence of celebs?
In order to assess the effect these over-hyped releases are having, we will be looking into a few collabs in particular. Starting off with adidas’ brand defining partnership with Kanye West through to Virgil Abloh’s fashion famous approach to his Off-White x Nike collection. Finally, we will be rounding off with a look into how Pharrell Williams is saturating the market with endless colourways.
Let us know in the comments below if you think this celebrity driven influx of sneakers has changed our community for better or worse.
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Kanye West x adidas.
Before we even get into the Yeezy, the above is an image of the Mr. West rocking the Ultra Boost 1.0. This image seems innocuous enough but it’s effect sent ripples through the sneaker scene.
This was the first real image of Kanye rocking the 3-Stripes since his split from Nike. At the time, the UltraBoost was new technology and had been available for pre-order for a week or so and when it first launched, it wasn’t an instant sell out. This is a crazy notion now but the hype just wasn’t there for this new silhouette. Then this image emerged online and that was it, they were gone and Kanye singlehandedly put the UB on the map.
This then leads to his first signature shoe with the brand. We all know the Turtle Dove and the crazy resell value that they hold. At the time, this was the most hyped shoe to hit the market and fast-forward 3 years and the Yeezy is still an instant sell out, but it is no longer commanding the hype that it once had.
This celebrity in particular is causing the sneaker culture to become lackadaisical with high heat releases. Would people still be acting so nonchalant if an Air Yeezy 3 was about to launch?
Off-White x Nike
Following on from Kanye, we have one of his former proteges and long time friend, Virgil Abloh. The founder of Off-White teamed up with the Swoosh in late 2017. “THE TEN” were some of the best sneakers that we had seen all year and the buzz they caused was unprecedented.
The question I am wondering is, would they of been that hyped if Virgil hadn’t given them to his famous friends prior to their launch. At Lovebox in 2017, Frank Ocean was spotted wearing the famed Presto’s, arguably the best shoe of the collection.
Until that point, everyone was primarily focusing on the Air Jordan 1’s. Safe to say the Presto blew up but was it down to the Channel Orange singer or not? Plus, would the Air Jordan 1 be seen as one of the best AJ1’s without it being spotted on the likes of A$AP Rocky? No one will ever know, but we are pretty sure it helped.
Pharrell Williams x adidas
Let’s start off on the right note here, Pharrell Williams has been and will continue to be one of the most influential people in the sneaker and streetwear scene. His collaboration with adidas was one of the best that we had seen when they first released.
As the collaborations have continued, they have slowly become more and more diluted down. Gone are the days of the single coloured NMD’s in limited runs that people clambered for.
The originality no longer feels present, with new colourways coming out as GR’s. We feel as though they have truly lost their magic.
So is the sneaker community being hindered by the celebrity names it is being attached with? As a whole, probably not. Although creps are being driven to high levels of hype due to the celebrity status attached to them, all of the above are dope sneakers.
With a celeb putting their own signature spin on a trainer, it really allows a label to venture out and create something exciting and new. We would just like them to try and dial it down a little bit.