The worlds of hip-hop and fashion or hip-hop and the sneaker industry are are no strangers to each other. You can go back as far as Run DMC and their affinity for their Adidas of you can point to the recent shoe deals with Drake and Kanye. In a piece entitled “The Measure of a Hip-Hop Star? It’s on Your Feet,” TIME writer Victor Luckerson takes an in depth look at the business side of the sneaker game and the rise of hip-hop artists getting shoe deals. According to research supported by Matt Powell, an analyst at SportsOneSource, the sneaker deals he contends, are nothing more than publicity stunts. If true, this would add up to very expensive publicity stunts as the deal between Adidas and Kanye West is reported to be in the 8 figure range.
Below is an excerpt from the article. Read the piece in its entirety here.
Though West has benefited from the hysteria surrounding celebrity sneaker releases—he gave away 50 pairs of red Air Yeezy IIs earlier this year to help promote his latest album—he may now try to the buck the trend of celebrity shoes being elaborate marketing ploys. Before leaving Nike, he expressed frustration to anyone and everyone about not being able to distribute the Air Yeezys in wider numbers. “Nike would make you believe it was my fault that you couldn’t get them, but that was not the case,” he said during a stop in Nashville on his current tour. “I wanted there to be as many Yeezys as there was LeBrons, and I wanted them to be at a good price, but that was not my choice, and we’re going to change everything.”
Adidas, which has only 5.5 percent of the basketball shoe market in the U.S., is in need of another strong brand spokesman. The company dumped $185 million into an endorsement deal with Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, but he’s out for the season again with another long-term injury. Perhaps Adidas will give Kanye a chance to make good on his boasts that he is the Steve Jobs of fashion.