YEEZY BOOST-- Two words that carry a lot of significance in the sneaker world. In 2015, Kanye West signed a contract with sneaker giant, adidas and went on to make one of the most coveted sneakers ever created, the YEEZY Boost 350. With massive success in the sneaker industry with Louis Vuitton and NIKE, West's new collection was bound to sell out, and it did. Pairs of the 350's in the Turtledove colour way fetched up to $6800. A combination of exclusivity, limited quantities and celebrity endorsement pave the way for the YEEZY Boost collection to constantly sell out and resale at a 669% increase on average. This sparked a massive demand for more pairs to be produced and while adidas turned their back and ignored, China was listening.
At first, Chinese manufacturers were designing (from what it seems) on a whim, not focusing on any major details like the BOOST sole or the digital camo-like primeknit or even the correct silhouette. These dodgy "FEEZYS", as they were nicknamed, had a price range anywhere between $20-$50. Within a year, factories in China started to pay closer attention to the YEEZY line and went as far as sending workers to line up at adidas Original stores for the latest sneaker release. These workers would purchase a pair on the company's behalf and bring it back to the factory where the sneakers were heavily analysed in order to create the perfect replica. Today, 1:1 replicas are available for purchase with a price tag of $228AUD. That's nearly retail price on the authentic pairs. At the forefront of this YEEZY replica industry is perfectkicks.me.
With hundreds of products, Perfect Kicks has become one of China's biggest YEEZY Replica distributors. They use Instagram to show customers behind the scenes footage and upcoming releases. Here is a video of their YEEZY V2 release and here is a video of the production. It's overwhelming how a sneaker that released just a week ago to the public is already perfected in the replica industry.
PK's alleged connection with NIKE and adidas factory workers means Perfect Kicks have the biggest upper hand, using alleged authentic materials, including BOOST. So now the sneaker industry is at a point where replicas now look nearly identical to their authentic counterparts. This raises a bigger issue; What if the $1200 pair of YEEZY Boost 350 Turtledove's (bargain) on eBay turn out to be one of these 1:1 fakes? If they do look so alike, do you take the risk in paying $1.2k and question the validity of the shoes, or do you pay $228 and purchase the replica version? The sneaker community splits into two when these questions are raised. Some believe replicas are a blatant disrespect to the creator, while some see it as a fair deal for them since the creators refuse to mass produce.
There is a very fine line between buying a replica because you love the style and buying to gain social status. Spending $1200 on a sneaker is typically not something every one can do so 1:1 replicas become a very appealing option. Personally, I believe if West and adidas wanted to stop the replica industry, all they would need to do is release more pairs and saturate the market. Until then, Chinese sneaker manufacturers will continue to make these replicas and profit heavily.
Hi, I'm michael!
I'm 22 years old and obsessed with food and fashion-- especially sneakers.