When Kanye West took to the Grammys stage over a decade ago in 2008 to perform “Stronger” and “Hey Mama”, rumours that he may have dipped his toes into the fashion world had already been swirling. So when he stepped out in an unknown pair of black suede high-tops, the sneakerhead gossip mill went into overdrive. It turned out Kayne had just debuted The Nike Air Yeezy 1 – the very first creation from what would later become the Yeezy empire.
Today, Sothebys has announced that the rapper’s OG Yeezy sneaker will go to auction and is reportedly valued at more than $1 million. “The Nike Air Yeezy I and Air Yeezy II are still some of the most coveted sneakers by collectors,” the auction house said in a statement. “Created exclusively for Kanye, the Air Yeezy was an entirely new silhouette – designed for an artist rather than an athlete – and paved the way for many of the artist collaborations of today”.
It was the shoe that launched a thousand hypebeasts and raised Kanye West to the multi-hyphenate musician-designer-politician-twitter-troll that we know today. Since unveiling footwear 13 years ago, Yeezy has gone on to be one of the most covetable lifestyle brands, racking up $1.7 billion last year in sales alone. What’s a paltry $1 million in comparison? Having shifted from Nike to adidas in that time, Yeezy’s next frontier will be at the hands of GAP. Though details remain slim, the line will apparently launch “towards the latter part of the first half of the year,” according to Bloomberg.
The sneakers are being sold via the collector Ryan Chang but before getting flogged, they will also be on public exhibition from April 16 until April 21 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong.