The Kicks You Wear, Vol. 40 — Y'all better appreciate Virgil

I will not accept Off-White slander during Black History Month

Good morning, family! Happy Friday! I hope you had an absolutely wonderful week and accomplished everything you needed to at the job or whatever the hell it is you do. Go treat yourself this weekend.

Today’s shoutout(?) goes to Goldberg, who somehow became the WWE’s Universal Champion despite being approximately 267 years old. No idea how they let this happen, but whatever. I don’t even watch wrestling anymore. This is just funny.

Anyways. Y’all bout ready?


Put some respeck on Virgil Abloh’s name

(Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash)

It takes a lot to argue that Virgil Abloh hasn’t really earned his stripes in the fashion industry. He worked with Kanye West for a decade, opened Off-White and is the lead designer for Louis Vuitton’s menswear.

Yet, there are still some folks who feel he hasn’t done enough. The New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman touched on that in an piece comparing Abloh’s genius in design and creation to that of high fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld.

  • Friedman isn’t suggesting that Abloh and Lagerfeld are one in the same. She is suggesting, however, that he is a fashion icon of that mold for Millennials and Gen Zer’s.

  • Lagerfeld ruled the high fashion world for decades upon decades — Abloh’s Off-White launched in 2013. He’s left his fingerprints on the culture, but he’s got a long way to go before reaching that status. And that’s a fair thing to say.

But that’s not where critics of Abloh stopped. Instead, when the comparison was brought up to fashion execs, it was not only scoffed at but they also suggested that Abloh’s success was pretty much a big scam or some sort of diversity token not to be taken seriously. Here’s Friedman with more.

There’s a suspicion, somehow, that he is scamming the industry; seeing how far he can exploit its own embarrassing desire for cool, its need for visible diversity, and its lust for his millions of Instagram followers.

High fashion, after all, is famously white, set in its often-old-fashioned ways, and yet desperate to appeal to a generation of consumers whom, it suspects, have a very different idea of what matters than the current establishment does. Mr. Abloh exploits, tantalizingly, the promise of all that. People line up for what he is selling, even if they feel like what he is selling is a line. (Maybe because he is selling a line.)

Their main argument against him is that he sells hype and not quality. But that’s bull. It absolutely discounts his entire catalog from Off-White to Louis V and everything in between.

They’re mad because he breaks down the conventions of fashion. He calls himself a creator, not a designer. He has his 3% approach. He’s literally made a living off of breaking down old designs, transforming them into something slightly new and making it pop. None of that is conventional for fashion moguls.

But if fashion brands knew how to do things like him they absolutely would. But they can’t. That’s how you end up with the hot glue gun Margiela joints or the Dior Jordans. They just don’t do it well.

  • Abloh has successfully figured out how to mold the worlds of streetwear, sportswear and high fashion into one. That combination taps in with a generation that the old guard hasn’t connected with.

  • He translates to young folks and that’s why Louis Vuitton tapped him. No one else did it and they’re just trying to keep up at this point. He’s the industry’s biggest name after essentially half a decade.

And that’s the part that pisses me off. It’s very clear what’s happening here. The fashion world wants everything that comes with Virgil — the cool he brings, the diversity piece, the flavor. But they don’t want him to get too charged up because that’s bad for business.

The fashion industry, generally speaking, is racist. And it’s been that way for decades.

Having a black man come in and disrupt the industry so hard and so quickly goes against everything it’s ever known. It’s clear those attitudes about folks of color and the place they deserve to be in are still prevalent.

But that’s too bad. Because anybody not on this Virgil train right now is getting left behind. And it’s not just Virgil, either. It’s Kanye. It’s Pyer Moss. It’s Jerry Lorenzo. All of those folks? People of color. They are the future, whether they like it or not.

The two choices here are clear: Either get with it or get lost. Dassit.


The Kobe’s are finally coming back

(Photo by Olivier Collet on Unsplash)

It’s been a while but it’s finally happening. Nike is coming with a new Kobe shoe — it’s first one since his untimely passing in January.

The Kobe V Protro is slated to drop on March 26 in a Lakers themed colorway. It’s the same shoe that Bryant wore in the 2010 Finals against the Celtics when the Lakers won back-to-back titles.

Here’s a look at them. Anthony Davis wore them in the All-Star game a few weeks back.

@antdavis23’s Nike Kobe 5 Protro in the #NBAAllStar Game! #NBAKicks
February 17, 2020

It’s been a long time coming with these joints. We didn’t know when the next Kobe would drop online.

  • Nike’s web store sold out of Kobe product almost immediately after the tragedy hit and they still haven’t restocked yet. If you type Kobe into Nike’s search bar it still brings you to this page.

This is a watershed moment for the sneaker industry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — we’ve never seen anything like this. A signature sneaker athlete has never passed away in the manner that Bryant did so suddenly and so shockingly while being still so culturally relevant. That changes things up a lot.

We saw what it did to his sneaker line’s resale market. That’s still happening in most spaces and the shoes are still widely unavailable unless you stumble upon them, somehow, in store.

This drop will set the tone for what happens down the line with Bryant’s releases and how Nike should carry things. My best guess is that they’ll be gobbled up by resellers just like everything else, but maybe Nike has a different plan coming with this drop. We’ll see.

Overall, it’s just great to see people getting another opportunity to cop a Kobe shoe at a decent price ($175). Hopefully they end up in the right people’s hands. And, if they don’t, hopefully there are future releases on the way.


Gentle reminder: Your safety is more important than sneakers

People are going crazy over these Travis Scott SB’s in ways that I haven’t seen in a long, long time. It honestly feels like it’s 2009 again.

I mean, look at this line, y’all.

You’ve got people calling days ahead in advance trying to secure slots in raffles just to get this shoe. It’s cool to see people this excited about a shoe again and actively getting up to get out and try and get it.

But be careful out here. There’s a lot of mess that comes with that enthusiasm. We’re already seeing it. Three pairs of the shoe were stolen out of a shop in North Carolina. Nobody was hurt, but an employee was held up at gunpoint. And that’s never a good thing.

Stuff like this is absolutely unnecessary. This is what turns people away from the culture. It sets it back. This is not how we should ever, ever do things.

Part of the problem, obviously, is that the shoe is being sold this way with hype driving everything.

  • Believe it or not, there was a time when someone would hype your shoe because they’d never seen it — not because it was unavailable for them to buy.

This is the hype culture that they’ve built for us to function in and this is a consequence of it. It’s been this way for a while now. It’s not new, but still disappointing.

Bottom line: Be safe out here this weekend, family.


Melody Ehsani BYKE

I AM EXCITE.

Jordan Brand and Melody Ehsani are coming back with another shoe — unquestionably going to be a banger here.

No idea what this joint is going to look like. But after the Fearless collaboration? I’m expecting this to be a big drop.

Aside from the shoe dropping, it’s also great to see Ehsani becoming a personality of her own on a larger scale in the design world. Obviously, she did work before Jordan Brand and her stuff is great. But coming back for a part two with Jordan is a big deal.

It’s great to see a woman working Jordan Brand in the same way someone like Virgil or Don C works Nike. Hopefully we see a lot more of this going forward.


#TheKicksWeWear

Y’all know what time it is, family. THE KICKS WE WEAR. WE HERE.

Let’s start off with my BOSS Nate Scott, who me and my guy Evan convinced to cop a pair of New Balance’s. Salute.

Then let’s go to my BFF Brianna, who got some Alexander Wang x Adidas joints for her birthday.

Then the legend and the homie Q himself came through with the Denim Air Max 200’s. Too clean, yo.

The homie Jalen just hit us with the Fire Red Suede AJ5’s and my man is basically Steph Curry with the shot rn.

The homie Meredith came thru with the most stunning Tailwinds I’ve ever seen. These joints look like a damn sunset on foot.

My man Shawn McFarland came through in some Bordeaux 12s with the camera in hand. Too sick with it.

The homie Snack Sabre came through with the Neighborhood Ultraboosts and they are so underrated, dog.

Then we had the homie Kirby come through with the “I want I can” ZX 4000 4D joints from Adidas and they are sick.

My man Shawn P is bussin out the Russ Why Not 0.3’s on the court now.

Then the homie RJ came in with the BLUE THE GREAT JOINTS THAT I STILL DO NOT HAVE. I’m getting this damn shoe.

Then Josh shut shit down with the Chicken and Waffle Dunks. The best brunch meal possible on the best shoe ever. You can’t beat it.

Y’all are so good, man. Keep killing. I really gotta keep up.


That’ll do it for Friday! I hope y’all have an incredible weekend. It’s light outside after 6 p.m. now! Make the most of that. It’s almost spring time, family. We almost there.

Until Monday! Love y’all. As always, peace and love. Be easy. Be kind.

Signing off.

Sykes 💯