Steven Smith may not be a household name, but he has just been chosen by one of the most famous people i n the world. Smith will oversee Kanye West’s newly announced Donda Industrial Design, a division of his pre-existing Donda creative business that so far includes two of his Donda albums, a Donda Academy and a Donda Sport clothing line. While little is known about Donda Industrial, the trailer for the “Donda Foam Car” has been circulating, suggesting that West is taking wing in the automotive manufacturing world.
What is certain, however, is that Donda Industrial Design is much more versatile than we currently believe. The aforementioned Smith is a veteran of the athletic shoe industry, having held footwear design positions at Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Fila and Reebok, among others. Notably, he also oversaw many of Yeezy’s sneaker styles as the brand’s executive designer, including the Adidas Yeezy Boost 700 “Wave Runner” and the out-of-the-box Yeezy Foam RNNR. In his new role at Donda In his new role at Donda Industrial, one can assume that Smith will continue to design shoes for West and his loyal sneaker fans, just under a different label. The slow failure of the partnership with Yeezy Adidas naturally makes sense.
In fact, it’s not surprising that a separate line of sneakers would be launched outside of Yeezy. In recent weeks, West has turned the tables on Adidas, seemingly suggesting that the brand stole some of his Yeezy designs and transformed them into the German label’s own brand, cheaper and in greater numbers. The first is the Adidas Adilette 22 in earth tone with Yeezy slippers, basically the same, with the “Three Stripes” branding instead of the minimal Yeezy logo. West accused Adidas CEO Casper Rostand of “copying” the design, saying that “for Casper, I no longer support this blatant copying. To all of sneaker culture. To every baller rapper, or even if you work in a store; this applies to everyone who wants to express themselves but feels they can’t lose their contract or be called crazy.”
Ye’s partnership with Adidas began in 2013, and the German mega-brand has drafted his shoes to success. When the 750s caught fire, Adidas introduced the more accessible Tubular Invader Strap. in the 350s, Adidas dropped the mainline Tubular Shadow. while Ye’s sneakers were limited in number, Adidas’ core line of shoes resembled the harder-to-get Yeezy, but were more readily available.
With the announcement of Donda Industrial Design, and the reappointment of Steven Smith, we wouldn’t be surprised if the end of Yeezy is near.