“My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become Picasso or greater.
That always sounds so funny to people, comparing yourself to someone in the past that has done so much, and in your life you’re not allowed to even think that you can do as much. That’s a mentality that suppresses humanity.”
-Kanye West, 2015 address to The Oxford Guild
Kanye West is a true artist in everything he does. Whether he’s not a Picasso equivalent or not, only time will tell. Many people know him best as a musical artist, but as an artist in fashion, he has certainly made his mark.
Ever since Kanye was a celebrity, he was known for his flair for fashion. From rocking a purple tudo at the grammys that he won in 2006, to the shutter shades shortly after, ‘Ye’s taste would inevitably be shown to the world through his own creations.
In 2007, Kanye made his debut in a way that foreshadowed things to come (many more shoes). The “Dropout Bapesta” by Kanye West was a shoe collaboration between West and legendary Japanese Streetwear brand BAPE.
This shoe remains a fashion icon to this day, and collectors of these sneakers are willing to pay nearly $3,000 for a pair.
Kanye continued with more shoes, working now with Nike. In 2009 he rolled out the Air Yeezy 1’s, which commanded prices in the tens of thousands at their peak. the first time an article of clothing would bear that iconic nickname that would go on to become its very own brand in 2015 in tandem with his partnership with Adidas that year with the debut of Yeezy Season 1.
Clothing, 950 boot flop
From 2007 with Bape to 2014 with Nike, Kanye West was known for having a Midas touch for anything clothing.
In 2015, this changed. The year that marked West’s partnership with the brand with three stripes began strong with the Yeezy 750 boost in February 2015 and the first Yeezy 350 low that June. Even before the year ended, red flags were beginning to pop up.
The clothing brand also proved impossible to resell. Whatever Kanye was doing with shoes, he could not do with clothes. Other streetwear brands like Supreme resell all the time. The Yeezy line couldn’t for a number of reasons, most notably the price tags and plain jane appearance. The Yeezy footwear line, which was previously immune to any sort of depreciation, was due for its first loss, but it came sooner than expected.
Yeezy saw its first footwear flop in its first real year as its own fashion brand. The Yeezy 950 duck boot debuted in October of 2015, and with a price tag of $585, they sat on shelves for retail and for the very first time people were accepting under retail for a pair of Yeezys, although a few suckers paid up to $1000 for a pair.
In late 2017, Barney’s New York held a sale that took an unprecedented 60% off of retail for the Duck Boot Yeezy’s:
2016: Yeezus brand, Yeezy shoes drop in resale value.
For the first time ever, we saw Yeezys reselling regularly well under $1000 per pair. The first Adidas Yeezy 750 Light Grey in February 2015 boost resold for over $2,000 on average, with people paying up to $5,000 per pair. Just over a year later in October 2016, the very same shoe in a different color, Chocolate, was reselling at lows of $500 per pair. For the first time, Yeezy’s were reselling for under double retail, which used to be a sure bet when buying Yeezys to resell.
2017: Overproduction of shoes. Lower lows for Yeezy resale.
2017 saw an incredible number of Yeezys releases and quick rereleases dropping, with new lows. Although the year looked like a return of the old Yeezy resale values with the Yeezy boost 350 Zebra reselling up to $2000, it wrapped up in December with 3 back to back Yeezy drops getting cheaper each time with the Blue Tints finishing the trio at resale values in the $300 range.
Early 2018: No Yeezys have been released yet. Where will it go?
It’s February 2018, marking the 3 year anniversary of Yeezys as we know it, and at the time of this writing, no Yeezys have dropped yet.
Will we continue to see a decline, or will there be a revival?
Late 2018 UPDATE:
Yeezy 350 Cream restock, which was the widest release of Yeezy’s ever, resulted in some pairs selling for at retail or even less, with an average of about 20 or maybe 50 bucks more after all fees are taken into account, which is previously unheard of for Ye’s signature kicks.
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Newcomers to reselling shoes should still be satisfied with the Yeezy brand because its sneakers still generate a sure profit of about 100%, which still puts it in the upper echelons of reselling.
For more info on resellable kicks, check out our post here that includes 12 shoes from mid-2018 that had good resale value.
We’re still waiting on the Yeezy 550 mid to come out, and brand new Yeezys often sell at 300%-400% profit margins or more.
We are expected to see a brand new Yeezy 550 mid. Can this shoe revive the brand?
No doubt Kanye is a creative genius
There’s a weird theory that Kanye hints towards in his talk to the Oxford Guild mentioned in the beginning of this article. The theory is that West and his Yeezy clothing brand is a social experiment to prove to outsiders how easily people are suckered into overpaying for brand names, despite criticism and straight up signs/intuition that the clothes are shitty.
He also makes this statement in the Oxford talk:
“Clothing should be like food. There should never be a $5000 sweater. You know what should cost $5000? A car should be $5000. “
Given that he is selling sweaters in the thousands of dollars, he’s either a hypocrite, or he’s playing a social experiment to enlighten humanity to their ignorance.
In the world of fashion, many brands go as quickly as they come. Remember True Religion, Affliction, Ed Hardy? These are brands that have fallen out of fashion as quickly as they came on. With tons of criticism, will the Yeezy brand share the same fate?
No matter what anyone says about Kanye’s brand, one cannot deny that he is setting trends. Boxy shirts, numerous holes in jeans and tops in muted colors for a post-apocalypse look. Look around and you’ll see tons of Yeezy shoe lookalikes, from off brands to Skechers and all the way up to Zara.
I think it’s inevitable that the resale on Yeezy will continue to suffer, but the answer to the question asked in the title of the article is likely not. The influence of Kanye West as a fashion artist is undeniable. He really does go all the way. For his brand to die this year is highly unlikely. He’s a living icon and time will tell whether or not he will cement himself as one of the fashion greats like Ralph Lauren and Christian Dior.
If you’re reselling Yeezy’s for the money, it may be time to look for other, newer brands to diversify. Off-white has come on as a strong collaboration, the Jordan brand is making a comeback in resale value with the classic Air Jordan III’s and Supreme has been going strong forever.
You can absolutely still make plenty of money reselling shoes and streetwear–it’s the funniest and coolest way to make money ever as you can see here.
For an in depth walk through guide that will have you making money as soon as this weekend, check out our guide on how to become a sneaker plug which will certainly put you on the path to success as a sneaker reseller.