The way we express ourselves is often through our clothing. It’s our one chance to convey who we are to the strangers we encounter each day. Some of us choose flashy attire, others choose modest attire, and others choose to wear subtle accents to just share a glimpse of their personality.
When it comes to fashion, our shoes are a core part of pulling an outfit together. Kanye West is no stranger to pushing the envelope with his style and that is evident in his designs as he launched the Yeezy brand in 2009. While his designs are often futuristic and unique, he always includes more neutral designs or color schemes as well, to ensure his designs are appealing to his entire customer base.
How you spot a Yeezy sneaker is through the Yeezy logo. The Yeezy logo has formed a strong brand recognition across the world, but how did the Yeezy brand come to be?
Below you’ll find a deeper dive into this iconic brand and the history behind Yeezy, and Yeezy’s logo.
Founded by Kanye West in 2009, Yeezy was started to mix up the sneaker designs we all know and love. “Yeezys” are classified as adorned sneakers, but Kanye has grown the Yeezy brand to include a clothing and accessory line, while also expanding his footwear line to include shoes like boots and heels. Beyond this, Kanye has grown the Yeezy brand through key partnerships with some of the best designers in the industry like Louis Vuitton, Nike, Adidas, and APC. His partnerships have spanned different lengths of time, with his Nike partnership lasting for five years, and his partnership with Adidas being ongoing. What Kanye was sure of, was that no matter who he was partnering with, his logo would also be evident.
2006: Kanye West’s first enters the design industry
Kanye West first got his taste as a designer in 2006 when he was asked to design a pair of shoes for Adidas. Except that design was never released after all his work. Unlike some entrepreneurs who would give up, Kanye West kept going and released a pair of shoes with Bape, called “College Dropout.” If you didn’t buy these shoes back then, you’ll have a hard time finding them now. These shoes are a rare find and if (and when) you do find them, they’ll be pricey!
2009: Kanye West creates the Yeezy brand
While it took a few years for Kanye to release shoes solely under his brand, Yeezy, the company was formally founded in 2009. His initial collaboration was with Nike when together they released the Nike Air Yeezy this year.
2013: The end of the Yeezy and Nike collaboration
After a five-year collaboration, and after the release of the Yeezy I and Yeezy II sneaker designs, Kanye ended his partnership with Nike. This came right after the release of the Air Yeezy 2s. Instead of paying royalties for Kanye’s designs, Nike decided to donate his earnings to a charity of his choice.
Lucky for Kanye, this wasn’t the last time that he was approached for a partnership. After leaving Nike, Kanye was approached by Adidas, who, unlike Nike, offered to pay royalties for his designs (a 15% wholesale royalty). For Kanye, this felt like more of a true partnership between two brands.
2015: Yeezy’s initial releases and Yeezy’s partnership with Adidas
The first shoe that Kanye released was the Yeezy Boost 750. For this sneaker, Kanye got his inspiration from a futuristic shoe design he saw in Australia. A limited-edition “Light Brown” version of the shoe followed this initial release, and the 9,000 pairs sold out within 10 minutes.
During this same year, Kanye introduced the Yeezy Boost 350, which became their most successful silhouette, and it made a splash when it hit the market. Their most famous release was the “Turtle Dove” Yeezy Boost 350. What is unique about these trainers is that they use Adidas’ trademarked material and then weave this into complex patterns in a wide array of colors. Beyond this, they even have a one-of-a-kind rubber sole and heel! These were universal shoes that fit almost anyone and with minimal laces and their original design, they are not only a fashion statement but also a practical running shoe.
While Kanye previously collaborated with other designers on his sneakers, in 2015, Kanye released Adidas Yeezy sneakers for the first time, and with this release, came the formal announcement of this partnership. This sneaker collaboration immediately sold out and has continued to sell out year after year (with sales even increasing each year!). Part of the reason Kanye’s footwear sells out is due to the hype that he has created. Since these sell out in less than 60 seconds, it makes it more desirable.
The Yeezy Brand did not stop there though. On October 29, 2015, Kanye released the Yeezy Boots 950. This was different than the footwear he previously released because this version was a boot. This had even more of a futuristic design than his sneakers in the past. For these, Kanye chose waterproof rubber soles so your feet would be dry during the winter or rainstorms. And with these, he was directly responding to his customers by giving them a shoe option for the days they didn’t want to wear sneakers.
2015: Yeezy’s clothing release
Kanye released his first clothing line in October 2015 with Yeezy Season I. What Kanye did with this line was include ready-to-wear items that were inspired by flesh-toned colors and military apparel. This line came at a high price point that included sweatpants for $600 and jackets for $3,000. By expanding Yeezy’s offerings, Kanye transitioned Yeezy from being a shoe company to a brand.
2016: The Yeezy 350 Cleat and Yeezy Boost 350 V2
Yeezy sneakers were popular with everyone, athletes included. Kanye decided to create a line of sneakers specifically for football which debuted in an NFL kickoff game in 2016. While the athletes loved these, DeAndre Hopkins, a wide receiver on the Houston Texas, was fined $6,000 by the NFL for having these Yeezy 350 Cleats on. That’s because when the cleats were designed, they did not have a strong enough base color, which is part of the NFL’s kit policy.
During this same year, Yeezy released even more color schemes (like Beluga, Zebra, Black and White, and Cream White) for its highly successful Yeezy Boost 350 line, during the third season of Yeezy. Beyond updating the colors, the Yeezy brand also updated the structural components of the shoe and eliminated the heel tab.
2017: The Yeezy Powerphase Calabasas & Yeezy Boost 700
The next year, Kanye released his newest shoe, the Yeezy Powerphase Calabasas. This version opted for a more retro, old-school sneaker modeled after the Adidas trainers from the 1980s. To update the 1980s model, Kanye included a white leather upper section, a red emblem, perforated stripes, and the signature Adidas branding, but in a green color. After the first model’s success, Yeezy released a second color scheme, in grey, that retailed at $120, followed by a third color scheme, black, that was released in March 2018. Adidas took notice of this hype and chose to continue making Powerphase Boost sneakers, just without the Yeezy collaboration.
During that same year, the Yeezy Boost 700 was released during Yeezy Season 5 in August 2017. This shoe was priced more than the Powerphase Calabasas, retailing at $300. It took two years to release another version of this sneaker but in March 2019, the “Geode” Yeezy Boost 700 V2 made its release during a charity event raising money for mental health awareness. This was yet another way that the Yeezy brand experimented with ways to release new versions of their products. And it proved that the Yeezy hype exists regardless.
2018: Yeezy’s clothing line pivots
While Kanye had high hopes for his clothing brand, his first collection did not sell out as his footwear line did. To help boost sales for his clothing line, Kanye was pursuing a partnership with Louis Vuitton in 2018. For Louis Vuitton, this was a $30 million partnership deal with the Yeezy Brand, but that deal was ultimately not seen through.
After this deal fell through, Kanye tried to reintroduce partners with his Yeezy Season 6 line, incorporating the Adidas branding again into his clothing and using ads that featured models like Paris Hilton and others.
2019: The Yeezy Boost 380
In another partnership with Adidas, Yeezy introduced their first Yeezy Boost 380 sneaker in December 2019. You would think it would be hard to generate even more excitement over a Yeezy sneaker, but the brand was able to still do this. And how they did this was by introducing this sneaker as a surprise release, sold directly from their website.
This sneaker was a sister sneaker to the Yeezy Boost 350 V2, which is why they have similar elements like the knit upper part of the show, the transparent stripes, and just the overall look. What sets this Yeezy trainer apart though is its translucent sole, unlike the ridged appearance of the soles from versions past.
2020: The Yeezy Foam Runner
Unlike sneakers that were designed outside of United States, this Adidas Yeezy sneaker was designed in the States. The brand sold this directly on its website in June 2020 for a price of $75, cheaper than their past shoe designs. This sneaker was different because Kanye had the idea to use harvested algae for some elements of the shoes, making it even more unique.
2021: The Yeezy 450 & Yeezy 500
The Yeezy brand continued its partnership with Adidas, which became an unstoppable collaboration. The duo released the Yeezy 450 in March 2021. This was released in a “cloud white,” color before being released in a dark gray. These sneakers retailed at $200, and they resemble Yeezy’s signature, futuristic, out-of-the-box style.
Despite the pandemic, the Yeezy brand still worked hard on delivering new footwear, so after releasing the Yeezy 450, the brand released the Yeezy 500 as well. It’s hard to continue to surprise your customers time and time again with sneaker designs, but Kanye did that. With these, he mixed military style with the 1990s “Feet You Wear” Adidas outsole.
Roadblocks Along the Way
Kanye has been no stranger to the Illuminati conspiracy and Illuminati conspirators have tied this symbolism to many things. Given this, it’s no surprise that conspiracy theorists have linked Illuminati symbolism to the Yeezy brand logo. For instance, When Yeezy released their Nike Air Yeezy II, many conspiracists believed three of the features on the sneaker’s design resembled the three Illuminati symbols: the eagle, the pyramid, and the eye.
Additionally, after Kanye launched his Yeezy Season I clothing line, Adidas chose to end its partnership with Yeezy clothing. Adidas cited that this was because they wanted to focus entirely on their Yeezy footwear line, rather than splitting their focus.
The Meaning of Yeezy’s Logo and Yeezy’s Logo History:
Rather than an icon, Yeezy’s logo contains just one thing. And that one thing is one word, Yeezy.
Yeezy’s logo font:
The way Yeezy’s logo differentiates itself is by adding a horizontal line through the “Z.” You may notice this line is similar to Polish and Latin spellings, but with Yeezy, it looks like a new, sleek upper-case font that more closely resembles a simple and elongated sans serif. For instance, the stroke through the “Z” doesn’t go past that letter’s margins, which is unique to this specific font, and a new font feature.
Yeezy’s logo color:
When not included on a shoe or article of clothing, the color scheme is black and white. When on an item, the color scheme will vary to complement that design.
Yeezy’s logo meaning:
When crafting this logo, the Yeezy brand looked at the logos of its competitors. The simple typeface, along with the black lettering resembles the logos of brands like Nike, Adidas, and other fashion labels that operate in a similar space.
Unlike its competitors, the Yeezy logo has elements that represent its founder, Kanye West. Kanye is known to be devoted, determined, driven, and never wavers from his views, so Yeezy’s logo needed to embody this as well. That’s why you’ll find that the design includes straight, hard lines, even corners, and clear edges. When you look up fellow fashion and athletic brands, Yeezy fits in, while also standing out.
But what does Yeezy mean?
There are many different theories on where Kanye got his inspiration for the name, Yeezy. Because of this, we may never know what Yeezy truly means.
For starters, Yeezy is said to be Kanye’s ode to his idol, Jay-Z, whose name is shortened from the word Jehovah (meaning God in Hebrew). Kanye goes by Yeezus as a way to declare himself the “Lord of Rap music.” Yeezus was also the title of his 6th studio album that came out in 2013.
Another theory is that Yeezy is a nod to fellow hip hop artists who have added “eezy” to their nicknames (think of Weezy and Breezy, for instance). And since “Ye” was the title of Kanye’s 8th studio album released in 2018, Kanye has a special tie to his nickname “Ye,” so adding the “eezy” to the end made sense.
And finally, Forbes cites that Yeezy is the shorter version of “Kanyeezy” which is the name that Jay-Z called Kanye at the start of his “Lucifer” track on his 2003 studio album.
During the pandemic, the Yeezy brand worked hard to continue to release new products to their dedicated customers, even releasing two new sneakers in one year. The brand is also community-minded and after the pandemic first swept the world, the Yeezy brand distributed a $2.5 million loan on the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure they were still able to employ their 106 employees.
Yeezy today is a globally renowned brand. And it’s a brand that is even loved by celebrities like Rihanna and P. Diddy. Given that his shoes sell out within minutes, the Yeezy brand is doing something right. And these shoes tie into Kanye’s mission of designing iconic footwear.
Lessons Learned from Yeezy
The Yeezy brand has a following, and it’s clear why. Kanye has introduced a unique line of sneakers that his customers can’t buy anywhere else. And through his designs, he is giving a new meaning to what “fashion” is. Kanye devotes time to his fashion brand, just like he does his music and it’s nice to see that you can combine your passion with entrepreneurship to become a powerful icon in the world today.
But what can we learn from Yeezy’s logo? Simplicity is key. The logo is just the Yeezy name. The logo offers brand recognition, which brings you into his entire brand and his entire world. So with your business, be thoughtful with your font, your color choices, and your shapes because the emphasis on the little details will help your brand overall.