Last week as Yeezy season came to the forefront of the world with Kanye West’s new album Yeezus being released, I celebrated the seasonal festivities with my own Kanye inspired design. On the day of the album drop I dropped what my idea was for the next in Nike’s collaborative line with Mr. West, the Yeezy 3.
It all started while watching Kanye’s performance on the May 18th season finale of Saturday Night Live. The music and the visuals got me thinking and honestly inspired and motivated me to start creating. I soon had to include my Complex brethren Brandon Edler, or Mr. Brando to most, and started breaking down this vision I was having of what the next Yeezy should be. We all knew it was coming I just wanted to put an image to it. So through the course of about 50 emails and various amounts of texts, Brandon helped me shape what would become my final design.
While it was a small and relatively quick project, it was something I took very seriously. Kanye is somebody that has always inspired me and always makes me to keep pushing for what is next. He has a magnificent way of creating something that feels relative to right now but is completely ground breaking and has never been done before. I knew this design had to encompass that. I knew that the shoe couldn’t come out and just be another piece of footwear. I knew the shoe had to be iconic and had to be controversial. I wanted the shoe to piss as many people off as it had lovers. There could be no middle ground, it had to be provocative.
I wanted the shoe to be what I was describing as “decadent rebellion”. I created an agressive pattern that transitions from heel to toe. The heel uses faceting as a tribute to Mr. West, almost forming a crown and subliminally creating a “Y” graphic to carry on the Yeezy motif the other two shoes created. As the faceting wraps around the medial it starts to explode and blend into diamond shaped studs that go through the quarter and into the forefoot of the shoe. The faceting, and specifically the transformation of the faceting from heel-to-toe, was my interpretation of the current Kanye sound. It is incredibly aggressive, heavy texture, has lots of heavy bass but yet is still quite sophisticated. It is something that can be listened to at the Met Gala or at the Club. What I love about the shoe is that I think it looks like a sculpture as the way it is but I can imagine it looking just as beautiful after it has been fucked up on the streets, giving it a very raw aesthetic.
To me the shoe encompasses everything Kanye currently is and also pushes where he has been with the Yeezy. It is incredibly complex but very minimal.
I really, really pushed myself on this design and I am happy with the outcome. I would say it is 85% finished. A lot of what I create for Complex is about capturing a vision. While I still try to make it as functional as possible, I don’t always think the whole construction process through. This one is close to being there but there is some areas that need finessing and I need to finish the medial side and really show how the Flywire straps work. This shall come in the near future.
Check out the sketch work above and head over to Complex to see the full story of what the shoe features and why it features it.