Kanye’s Yeezy’s are the hottest shoes in the game. But how much more of Kanye’s stupid behavior can the brand take before it collapses?
Kanye West has always been a weird guy, but 2020 took things to another level. Not only is the Chicago-based rapper running for president of the United States, but he is embroiled in a bitter ownership battle with Universal Group over his masters–a spat that culminated in him urinating on his own Grammy award to protest disparities in the music industry.
This polarizing behavior may be hurting Kanye’s Yeezy brand, which makes up the vast majority of the artist’s roughly $1.3 billion net worth. Yeezy sales are tanking in the resale market, and the company’s weird designs seem to be losing touch with reality.
The Yeezy brand generates hype through scarcity. Instead of making the shoes widely available at retail outlets, Adidas (the company’s manufacturing partner) releases new styles in limited batches that are quickly scooped up by scalpers who resell them on platforms like Stadium Goods and Stockx.com for dramatic markups over their original price.
In the beginning, this strategy worked wonders, turning the Yeezy brand into an elite urban status symbol that only a few had access to.
The Yeezy 750 OG Light Brown, one of Kanye’s first collaborations with Adidas, still resells for an average price of $1,735 on Stockx.com. The ultra-exclusive Nike Air Yeezy Red October recently sold for an eye-watering $8,500. But recent releases have not made nearly as big of a splash as these older models.
The 350 Israfil, released in August, has an average selling price of $268. The 380 Pepper, released in September, can be had for as little as $214 –significantly cheaper than its original retail price.
Yeezy’s street cred is tanking, and Kanye’s isn’t making the situation any better with his off-the-wall antics. It seems like the artist’s mental health issues are creeping into his designs, and Yeezy styles are becoming weirder by the day.
Take a look at the brand’s season 8 fashion show–an event that can only be described as bizarre:
It’s unclear what vibe Kanye wanted to portray with this show. But to me, it represents post-apocalyptic Wuhan in the beginning stages of the pandemic–or maybe a futuristic civilization where people must scrounge for rags to wear as clothing after an EMP attack destroyed technology.
Either way, the show was bad–very bad. Hopefully, Kanye will change things up before the Yeezy clothing line launches at The Gap stores in the first half of 2021.
Four years ago, Kanye West made headlines when be begged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for money. At the time, Kanye’s finances were in shambles — he had $53 billion in debt, and his fashion company was going nowhere.
But Yeezy’s commercial success changed everything –catapulting to Chicago rapper into billionaire status.
The vast majority of Kanye’s net worth ($1.26 billion) is tied up in a majority stake in the Yeezy brand, valued by Bank of America at $3 billion. Kanye enjoys an 11% royalty (along with a marketing fee) for every Yeezy shoe sold by Adidas. Forbes estimates that he raked in a total of $140 million from Yeezy sales in 2019. However, because Kanye’s net worth is so dependant on the success of the fashion line, he could quickly go broke if the brand loses its prestige and sales slow down.
Kanye still has a significant amount of debt–estimated at $100 million, according to Forbes. A potential divorce from his wife Kim Kardashian could make the rapper’s financial situation a whole lot stickier. Hopefully, Kanye can get his act together before it’s too late.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.