Yet you’re still buying them. And you heard it here first.
Well, that’s easy for you to say, J: you’ve had Off-White, Yeezy & Bape collabs, so you’re straight.
I had the white Presto from the Polar Opposites pack, that is true, and I resold it about a year later. But even if I didn’t have that sneaker, or my Yeezys (which I’m in the process of reselling), 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 then a plethora of other releases and silhouettes have dropped under the OW x Nike branding, but very few (in my opinion) have really ever been on the same caliber as The Ten, and it shows in the resell markets.
Bathing Ape and whatever sportswear brand they team up with semi-annually haven’t been any better the last handful of years. 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. And I get it, that’s pretty much the visual motif of Bathing Ape. But how many “variations” of the same thing can we see, fam? 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.
As I’m actively choosing not to waste breath or time on Kanye, I will not get into Yeezy extensively, but you know and I know probably 80% of these releases have been absolute repetitive garbage. BA-SU-RA, as BULL1TRC would say.
Ambush, Cactus Jack, Supreme, and Stussy have recently fallen into this similar trend. Since the pandemic and the time after, they all have had some really spectacular drops that were unique, innovative, different, and dare I say refreshing offerings in the collab space. But then, look on Instagram a few weeks later and they’re pumping out either uglier colorways of sneaker that should’ve ended with the initial releases, or silhouettes that honestly probably should’ve been samples, concepts, or F&F releases. Such isn’t (or at least wasn’t) uncommon in the sneaker world.
All that to say (my favorite phrase as of late, it seems), hype collabs are starting to feel a lot like (overpriced) general releases.
And GRs usually tend to be…boring.
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 the collabs 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 (not so) greatest. So next season/year’s Off-White, Travis, and Supreme drops are going to go over a little more with the current sneaker climate than that of a deserving brand like SNS, Maison Kitsune, C.P. Company, End., Neighborhood, Stone Island, just to name a few (and so many others).
So, will the hypebeasts ever get tired of the run of the mill? Will they one day look at another predictable release and thirst for something different? Will they look at the same regurgitated patterns and decide to opt for a different sneaker altogether? Probably not; they’re hypebeasts, after all. And besides, the more Off-White, Supreme, and Yeezy 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), the hype collabs are boring. Because they really 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.