Social media is inundated with images of Yeezy x Supreme sneakers, whether they’re custom made or low-quality fakes. Regardless of what they are, they get people talking.
The hype generated by each powerhouse brand — on their own or linked — has some FN editors wondering: If the two labels collaborated, what would happen?
Influential sneakerheads believe it would be a game changer.
“It would definitely go down as one of the most hyped releases, if not the most hyped release, of all time,” sneaker influencer Henry Francois told FN.
And Sneaker History head content creator Robbie Falchi agrees.
“If a collab like that happened, it would be like the San Andreas fault-line splitting. It would be seismic,” he said. “That’s like Paul McCartney releasing a song with Elvis.”
Outside of the sneaker world, industry insiders are also confident a pairing would be a success. The NPD Group sports industry adviser Matt Powell believes if the two brands didn’t deviate from their tried-and-true limited-edition business models, the hypothetical collaboration would make waves.
“The real key to the success of any collaboration is scarcity. Supreme certainly knows how to create a product that’s scarce, that’s difficult to get your hands on. Assuming the product is relatively scarce in its quantity, it would be a big success,” Powell said.
The Hypothetical Collab’s Potential Cultural Impact
From a sneaker culture standpoint, Francois believes it’s not a lock that everyone would love the collab, if it were to happen.
“A Yeezy x Supreme collab would probably get mixed reviews by actual sneaker enthusiasts but the Hypebeasts would go crazy,” Francois said. “Sneakerheads appear to be a little tired of the [Adidas Yeezy Boost] 350, but slap a Supreme logo on it and everybody will go nuts.”
Falchi is confident it would be praised.
“It would be received with open arms by the masses, because [of the] hype,” Falchi said. “Hypebeasts would have a holy grail [and] sneaker media outlets would have months of content. If Nike x Supreme is capable of starting riots, then a Yeezy x Supreme could, too, with ease.”
Now 25 years old, Supreme is arguably hotter now than ever before, delivering sneaker collaborations with companies such as Nike and Vans that sell out almost instantly and become big money makers on the resale market. Kanye West continues to grab headlines with every new Yeezy silhouette that gets teased on social media.
Despite the popularity, Powell believes a collaboration between the two would do little to excite the masses.
“I always say with these [limited] releases that it seems really loud because it’s in an echo chamber. But if you stop your average citizen on the street and ask about this, they won’t know what you’re talking about,” Powell said. “It’s a chance to get [more deeply] engaged with the people who are already engaged, but I don’t know if there’s a broad-based consumer grab.”
Would Retail and Resale Benefit From the Collaboration?
In terms of financial impact for the two labels, the industry expert doesn’t see either benefiting greatly.
“Because scarcity is the key to success here, it’s never really going to be commercial enough to matter to the industry. It certainly will get a lot of mentions on social media, but in terms of units sold, it’s still going to be relatively limited or it won’t be successful. I don’t think it would have a huge impact on the industry,” Powell said.
The secondary market, however, could experience a boost. Both Supreme collabs and Yeezys are mainstays on resale platforms, with prices skyrocketing from retail within hours of their release.
A Supreme x Yeezy shoe could see price hikes never seen before.
“It would set a new prescient on the resell market — imagine Yeezy ‘Red October’ 2.0. The [Red Octobers] easily fetch up to $10,000 on the secondary market. Supreme x Yeezy release would break that mark easily,” Falchi said. “Even if the shoes stunk aesthetically, they’d have hope so big, no one would care except salty purists and old heads.”
Francois agrees. “Resellers would have a field day with this release. In fact, this would be one of those releases that the average consumer may look to try and capitalize off of because even they would understand the mayhem the two brands collaborating would cause,” he said.
Would the Collab Game Change For Good?
The opinions of Falchi and Francois differ, however, on the impact the collab would have on other brands and how they approach collaborations moving forward.
“Brands would be pressured to start working with only the hottest names even more and steer away from the grassroots [or] small artist collaborations, even if the silhouette of a Supreme x Yeezy shoe was bad,” Falchi said.
According to Francois, not much in terms of the collaboration process will change. What would be different, however, is the emphasis on creativity brands smaller than Supreme and Yeezy will need to have when collaborating with others.
“From a design standpoint, I don’t think this would change how brands or retailers and designers approach a collab because as long as two big brands of that stature come together it’ll sell out regardless,” Francois said. “If anything, it forces brands that don’t generate as much hype as the aforementioned to get more creative in order to generate some buzz because sneaker enthusiasts respect detail and originality.”
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