Yeezy is heading to the country. Designer Kanye West revealed yesterday at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival that his multimillion-dollar sneaker brand is moving its headquarters to a 4,000-acre ranch in Cody, Wyo., where it will operate its own hydroponic farm in order to further its sustainability mission.
Showing off a prototype of Yeezy’s sleek new clog style — the Foam Runner (rumored to be releasing sometime in early 2020) — West told the audience, “We’re going to be farming and going seed to sole, and [we’ll] have our own cotton hydroponic farm and our own hemp farm and our own wheat farm so we can see every element.” He went on to explain the brand’s plans to create foam from harvested algae that will be blended with an EVA material to produce the clogs.
Yeezy lead designer Steven Smith, who joined West on the stage, said the algae material will be the first among many sustainability initiatives soon to come. “Eco concerns are intersecting with what we do, and this is just the beginning of the future that Kanye envisioned for us to start working on,” Smith explained.
West added that his company is also busy exploring alternatives to harmful dyes, as well as a shift to U.S. manufacturing within the next 2 years. “Our color is a big signature of the brand, but also dying is one of the main things that’s impacting the planet in the fashion industry,” he said. “So we’re just being responsible from A to Z.”
Yeezy’s new planet-friendly mindset is hardly surprising, considering collaborator Adidas’ longstanding experimentation with eco-conscious designs. This year, the German athletic brand announced a lofty goal to produce in 2019 11 million pairs of shoes containing recycled ocean plastic, a huge step up from the 1 million pairs it manufactured in 2017.
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