One-Kick Wonders: A Tale of Canned Collaborators
Ever feel like there are too many sneaker collaborations going down? These days, just about every B-lister and YouTube star has their own shoe, or at least an endorsement deal – it’s an overcrowded jungle out there. But don’t be surprised if most disappear quicker than a Happy Meal in the Oval Office. It’s easy to understand that even big-name stars occasionally get denied a second shot at footwear fame, and those are the best stories. These are the tales of gigantic collaborative oversights – these are the one-kick wonders.
It’s all about star power when it comes to selling colabs. Or so you’d think. Did you know Nicki Minaj made a shoe with Jordan Brand in 2015? It was more of a friends and family thing than anything serious, which seems weird, no? As far as hot new collaborators go, they don’t come much hotter than Nicki. So why didn’t they go all-out with the project? Well, just look at the shoe. Rinsed in the artist’s gaudy aesthetic, it’s a vibe that just doesn’t translate well onto a Jordan (or any shoe, for that matter). In short, these things are monsters.
Daddy Yankee, please, douse these things in Gasolina and set them alight. What is there to say about the rapper’s collaboration with Reebok that hasn't already been said about $10 sneakers from the local discount store? They actually dropped in quite a few colourways under an ongoing deal. However, 2005 was a strange time for footwear, and believe it or not, there were plenty of other sneakers on the market as shapeless as these. Hence, the Daddy Yankee was lost in a sea of Ice Creams and Saviers, and even DY himself was unable to rescue them.
If we had to choose one word to describe the collaboration between social media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk and K-Swiss, it would be ‘uninspired.’ Granted, the shoe only came out in the latter part of 2017, so it might be a little early to make the call on this one. But the general response around the office is something like: ‘I think I remember seeing it, I’m not sure’ — so we’re probably safe. So who exactly is this #GaryVee character? He’s one of those YouTuber-cum-entrepreneurs who writes books about being an entrepreneur. If you ask us, we’d much rather read a book on the topic as written by a once entrepreneur, now established businessperson. We’d also prefer not to take sartorial cues from a guy whose book cover looks like it was designed in PowerPoint. Let’s hope this is a one-off.
We don’t just want to forget these shoes, we want to forget about everything they represent. By the time Soulja Boy dropped his collaboration with Yums, the whole BAPE-esque brightly coloured patent-leather thing was already on the way out. Think of it this way — Kanye’s colourful Pastelle label was on its last legs, as the man himself switched the tour jacket for a grey plaid suit with the release of 808s. Nevertheless, Mr. Tell’em was committed to his vibe and the shoes went the same way as his musical career, sliding gently into irrelevance.
As a notorious sneaker connoisseur and trailblazing sole-licker, it’s no surprise that Fat Joe once had a collaborative sneaker with… hang on, who? Protege. The budget baller brand popped up in 2009, rolling in the wake of the global recession, to sell cheap sneakers through K-Mart and Sears. Sadly, the self-professed ‘Sneaker Shoe King’ learned that even in tough times, the kids aren’t trying to flex in K-Mart kicks. As the shoe’s name suggests, the Blackout faded quickly.
Thanks to Versace, Tity Boi was recently allowed back into the collaborative ranks after his less than satisfactory efforts with adidas in 2014. Funnily enough, the name of the shoe was perhaps a self-fulfilling prophecy, because for 2 Chainz, dreams of an ongoing deal with the Stripes were 2 Good to Be T.R.U. For a nearly all-black shoe, the Top Ten was about as gaudy as they come.
Hurricane Chris blew through the rap world with force, only to weaken and fade away with a gentle puff of dust. However, there was a time when he held enough clout for FILA to think he might be the one to fill their sails and boost their sales. But in much the same way that his music resonates like a poor man’s Diddy, so too did his FILA Helmsman, which look like nothing more than the poor man’s Prada Punta Ala. FILA should have checked the forecast before they left the house on the day that deal was signed, because they got dumped on.
Tyga’s collaboration might be the inverse example to disprove the common ‘rose by any other name’ mentality. Honestly, it wasn’t the worst design and may have sold better if it weren’t for that name — T-RAWW. It isn’t so bad as a nickname/Twitter handle, but it just seems like such a corny name for a shoe. Actually, who are we kidding? It came out in some horrendous colourways, and was advertised with the tag line ‘Futuristic, stylistic, animalistic’ — it never had a chance. Reebok stretched the deal with Tyga out over 12 months of staggered drops, all of which failed to make any lasting impression. But persistence is key. As soon as his deal expired, Tyga jumped over to LA Gear to release a sneaker with the same name. Sorry Tyga, sometimes you just need to know when to call it quits.