And you heard it here first.
Well, that’s easy for you to say, J: you have an Off-White collab, so you’re straight.
I have the white Presto from the Polar Opposites pack, that is true. But even if I didn’t have that sneaker, I’d still maintain this position. Look, 2017 was Off-White’s year in sneakers. The Ten had dropped, and it was one of the best collaborations and collections the sneaker culture ever saw. Virgil and company had really pushed the envelope that year. That year. Most Off-White collabs after that haven’t really been all too innovative or exciting. In Fact, most of them were the same formula: deconstruct certain parts, switch up fabrics and textures, put some text on the sides, and oh yeah, don’t forget the tags. What differed from all these sneakers is the colorway, but even then, that’s getting to be predictable, too. Each new drop will probably come in a brown or black colorway, still adhering to the same formula I mentioned above.
To everyone that’s a real sneakerhead and not a hypebeast, that should be boring to you. It is to me. Off-White and Nike had a vicegrip on every sneakerhead’s wallets and nuts when they dropped the AJ1. It was a never before seen take on the iconic sneaker. It caught our attention. Just when we thought nobody could top the Fragment 1’s, here comes Virgil and friends. And it was hot. But it was hot for its time. Since them, two other colorways have come out, and while they did great for themselves, they didn’t quite pop like the original offering. The proof is in the respective resell values. Since then, other sneakers from The Ten have dropped in predictable subsequent releases.
Bathing Ape and Adidas aren’t any better. Bathing Ape in the early aughts and the first half of this decade was a powerhouse. Everyone wanted a piece of Bape. And the sneaker collabs that they did just seemed untouchable. You couldn’t get any better than a Bathing Ape collab. But much like Off-White (and even more), they also became predictable. The Bathing Ape sneakers I’ve seen come in only two colorways: the signature olive camo or black camo pattern, with the Ape face on it. Outside of that, there really isn’t much design change or deviation from that of the original model. At least Off-White de/re-constructed their offerings to an extent.
But as someone once commented on an earlier post, the hypebeast culture is merging into the sneaker culture. And simply out of principle, Brands will continue to pump out what builds hype and cash flow. Adidas and Nike don’t care if Bape and Off-White are old and played out to the purist sneakerhead. They care about the 15-30 year-old person who will run up a credit card to cop the latest and greatest. So next season/year’s Bape or Off-White drop(s) is going to go over a little more with the current sneaker climate than that of a deserving brand like Slam Jam or Undercover. Of course, Slam Jam is has had a foray into the Consortium, and Undercover recently did a Zoom Fly SP, and as far as I know, both brands have offered wonderful, diverse, unique takes on every sneaker they’ve done. Not one sneaker’s patterns or colorways are copied or translated into another sneaker. C.P. Company, Oyster Holdings, Neighborhood, and so many others follow suit.
If we continue to see Off-White and Bape Collabs, will the hypebeasts ever get tired of them? Will they one day look at another release and thirst for something different? Will they look at the same predictable patterns and colorways and decide to opt for a different sneaker altogether? Probably not; they’re hypebeasts, after all. The sneakers will complete the whole lookbook they got going on for an alphet. And besides, the more Off-White and Bape they own, the hyper the beast they are. It’s never really about the sneakers with them as it is the brand, and that’s why for real sneakerheads (at least to me), they’re tired. Because they aren’t for the sneakerhead. At one point in time, they may have been. But then again, maybe they never were.
It’s nice to dream, though.