Kanye West doesn’t usually do interviews, so when he does you’re bound to hear some pearls of wisdom, and that’s exactly what we got in a recent interview with Forbes‘ Senior Editor, Zack O’Malley Greenburg.
Regarded as one of the most coveted sneaker collaborations in history, Yeezy has completely transformed the industry in ways previously unfathomable. Debuting his game changing adidas partnership back in February 2015, we’ve since seen the release of nearly one hundred colourways through six wildly popular silhouettes, with each more hyped than the next.
So, how did he do it? How did one man change, not only the world of sneakers, but also society as a whole? Absolutely anyone you ask will know what Yeezys are, and absolutely everyone wants a pair on their feet whether they’re in to trainers or not. With all that said, here are five things we learned from Kanye West’s rare Forbes interview.
Yeezy is the Lamborghini of shoes
When asked about the creative process behind each and every Yeezy, Kanye explained, “It starts with a sketch. It starts with a vintage reference. It can start with a previous shoe that we created that we’re making a newer version on. Feelings of films and experiences that I grew up with.”
He continued by giving an example of the types of movies that inspire his signature sneakers. “My mom took me to see Akira when I was really young, and the shapes, the colour palettes, and the general mood of the film had always been a big inspiration for Yeezy.” He goes on to say, “Going to auto shows with my dad. The first time I saw a white Lamborghini Countach in real life, I remember the guy told me I couldn’t even touch the car. I was obsessed with this car as a child. There’s a little bit of Lamborghini in everything I do.”
There are hundreds of Yeezy samples and prototypes
The money shot of the Forbes interview has got to be when Kanye is sitting in the middle of hundreds upon hundreds of different Yeezy samples and prototypes. Showcased in an empty Calabasas parking lot, he states, “We work on shoes like someone would work on a car,” describing each shoe as a “miniature vehicle“, a comparison that references his aforementioned Lamborghini metaphor.
When asked how many of these pairs will never see the light of day, he explained that he’s not numbers guy. “You can’t calculate love. If you get a surprise cake from your grandmother, and you didn’t know she was in town, do you start asking her about the batter and specifically the frosting?”
Futurecraft 4D and biodegradable Yeezys are in the works
During the interview, Kanye says that one of his concepts is a Yeezy that’s 100% biodegradable. He explains that the shoe will “biodegrade completely over time in landfills, or almost immediately if sprayed with a certain type of bacteria.” This isn’t the first time adidas have pursued eco-friendly ideas like this. In its continued strides to make itself as sustainable as possible, they teamed up with Parley For The Oceans in 2015 for a range of sneakers made from plastic water bottles. Additionally, the newly announced Futurecraft.Loop is claimed to be the world’s first fully recyclable shoe.
While we’re on the topic of Futurecraft, in one part of the interview, you can clearly see a Yeezy 700 VX that replaces the classic Boost midsole with a blacked out Futurecraft 4D sole that’s engineered with Digital Light Synthesis. Only time will tell whether or not these actually drop, but it’s good to know that Kanye is experimenting on other technologies for future models.
Yeezy could soon jump over Jumpman
In Kanye’s track Facts from his 2016 album The Life Of Pablo, he raps “Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman.” It looks like these lyrics could be come a reality very, very soon, as Forbes estimates that the Air Jordan line does approximately $3 billion in annual sales, while Yeezy is expected to top $1.5 billion this year.
While that’s literally half of what Jordan Brand makes, it’s definitely worth noting that Mr West owns 100% of Yeezy, a holding that has made him a centimillionaire “much earlier in life that competitors like Michael Jordan.” Additionally, he makes 15% royalties from each sale compared to MJ’s measly 5%, and with the Yeezy Basketball set to drop later this year, not only will the power duo be competing financially, but also on the court.
Kim K learned to make better business decisions through Yeezy
Contrary to popular belief, Kris Jenner isn’t the only person to teach Kim Kardashian-West about the business side of fame. While she definitely built the foundations of the Kardashian-Jenner empire, Kim K’s ever-growing success has a lot to do with Kanye and his own Yeezy business.
In the Forbes interview, she explains, “He’s just taught me as a person to never compromise and to really take ownership. Before, I was really the opposite. I would throw my name on anything.” This goes to shoe that not only is Kanye a creative genius, but he’s also knows a thing or two about making the right business moves.
Did you read Forbes‘ Kanye West interview? Let us know what you thought of it, and if you still haven’t had the time yet, be sure to check it out as it’s definitely worth your while. Be sure to keep it locked at The Sole Supplier for the latest and greatest in sneakers, and while you’re here, take a look at the full adidas sneaker range!