Surprise, Surprise: Kanye Can Say What He Wants And People Will Still Buy YEEZYs
There were a lot of reasons people gave to justify why they continued to spend time paying attention to Kanye West during his most recent public display of instability. He makes good music, you have to separate the art from the artist, etc. etc. All of these arguments are, of course, valid, and Kanye won't the last artist people continue to flock to in spite of their questionable political views (views that, ironically, Kanye seems to have renounced). In the case of Kanye's ever-popular sneaker line, however, it simply seems that the worlds of hype and politics have little-to-no effect on each other.
Recent releases on Adidas's YEEZY range, most notably the YEEZY 350 Boost White and YEEZY 700 "Mauve", took a noticeably longer time to sell out than other previous YEEZY releases, prompting many to speculate that Kanye's recent political campaigning had turned sneakerheads and style fans off of his line.
24 hours later and YEEZY BOOST 700 MAUVE still not sold out. This is going to be a problem for Adidas— Matt Powell (@NPDMattPowell) October 28, 2018
However, sources close to Kanye and Adidas have denied the rumors, saying that sales numbers were similar, however the two sneakers were released in far greater quantities than previous YEEZY drops. In fairness, speculation has long been rife that Kanye was set to give future YEEZY iterations a much wider release, with the rapper himself publicly stating that he wanted to make his sneaker line as accessible to everyone as possible.
Lord only knows what's set to happen next in Kanye West's political pseudo-career. After being falsely named as a designer of merchandise for black anti-democratic movement 'Blexit', the rapper announced he was taking a step back from politics, tweeting saying “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!”
However, the damage to Kanye's personal brand may already be done. Research platform Spotted, which analyzes millions of data points in the celebrity endorsement space, said in a report: "Throughout the past two years, conversation about Kanye West across social channels has been more negative than the average A-list male celebrity benchmark, with his positive to negative sentiment ratio being 24 percent lower than [his peers’].
"Additionally, Kanye’s behavior has also had a large impact on consumers’ perception of him, with Spotted’s data showing that consumers see Kanye as “wacky,” ranking higher than 97 percent of other celebrities for this attribute."