At this point, both Kanye West and Def Jam labelmate Rihanna, have solidified themselves as more than massive pop stars. Their reach has also proven to extend to the fashion industry, where the two have been extremely successful with their latest endeavors as sneaker designers: Both West with his Yeezy Boosts from Adidas, and Rihanna with her Fenty Creepers by Puma, have become hot-ticket items for stylish fans; even their celeb peers rock their sneaks, with model Gigi Hadid wearing several Fenty colorway and Justin Bieber often spotted in Yeezys.
Recently, the next chapters of Rihanna and Kanye’s lines have been announced. Last weekend Puma officially released her Fenty Trainer Hi, a $190 high top sneaker in two colorways, Cypress (forest green) and Sesame (nude). They’re also releasing the black and white pairs on June 29. And while there hasn’t been a release date attached to the next Yeezys, West’s close friend Ibn Jasper posted a picture on Instagram that set social media ablaze with excitement.
“Yeezy Season 6,” he captioned a shot with his hand wrapped around a tan and off-white runner, revealing the next shoe to come from his rap superstar buddy. It appears to not have the boost technology of his prior Adidas sneakers, but fans will have to wait to see them in person.
Buyers for sneaker stores across the country can’t wait to get more new product from Rihanna and West in their stores this year.
“I think both shoes are dope,” says Anthony “Munch” Steele, Field Marketing Manager at Philadelphia’s Villa. “They’re assisting with changing the sneaker game culture today. Rihanna and Kanye play a major role in creating different fashion trends. The lines for both Rihanna’s Fenty and Kanye’s Yeezy sneakers are insane.”
A sneakerhead himself, Munch admits that he’s prone to buying two pairs of every Yeezy that come out. Just being able to actually get some may be the greatest perk of his job — they’re pretty hard to come by (originally sold at $350, now dealt on Ebay for thousands). “Our company usually gets limited quantities in both Yeezy and Fenty products,” says Steele. “But that’s across the entire retail chain.”
Munch explains that both typically sell out within a day, though Kanye’s move just a bit faster — within an hour. Alexander McMeen, Marketing Director/Community Relations/Co-Founder of Nashville shop Rooted, shares the same experience.“You see lines around the block for these products,” he says of ravenous shoppers. “You enter a million raffles and pray that you get selected for one. You hop online on a release day and wait for hours for your chance to either beat the bots, or be the bot, so you can either stunt on your friends with the latest hot sneaker or toss it on a website where you can make a 100 percent-to-1000 percent return on your investment.”
He’s also noticing that pop stars are replacing what super popular athletes brought to fashion eras ago. “Growing up, it was all about what athletes were wearing, from Michael Jordan to Deion Sanders to Shaq and Penny,” McMeen says. “But now we’ve seen this shift from athletes to artists who now own the stage for these brands. Pop culture now references high-end designers like Rick Owens, Raf Simons and Balenciaga. Rappers no longer want to be athletes; they want to be fashion designers. You see this with A$AP Mob and VLONE. A lot of it goes back to Kanye West and what he has been able to accomplish. He isn’t on trend, he is the trend. Rihanna is doing something similar in the women’s fashion world.”
It’s clear that the hottest, most-coveted sneakers of the summer will come from West and Rihanna. The only question is who’ll actually be able to get them.