It isn’t out of the ordinary for high fashion brands to co-opt trends in surf and outdoor culture for profit (read: Thom Browne’s $3,900 wetsuits), but here’s the latest: Adidas is apparently making neoprene booties resembling a surfer’s go-to cold weather footwear for Kanye West’s YEEZY collection and Louis Vuitton is leveraging the recent mainstream success of sport climbing to hawk a $1,600 chalk bag. Let’s unpack:
According to Highsnobiety, West was spotted wearing the strange shoes around town over a month ago. The magazine later confirmed the shoes were part of an upcoming YEEZY collection and likely inspired by luge boots. But, damn if they don’t look like a crappy pair of loose-fitting surf booties, right? Isn’t high fashion strange?
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When photos of West wearing the shoes (booties) first emerged, 50 Cent may have had the best reaction. “Welp now I know I’m not a style icon,” the rapper wrote on Instagram. “I’m definitely not wearing that shit.” No word yet on how much these bad boys will cost, but if previous YEEZY shoes are anything to go off of, it’s not the retail price but the resell value that’s the kicker – pun intended.
Jumping over from Adidas’ Herzogenaurach, Germany global headquarters to Paris, the designers at Louis Vuitton were likely as equally as impressed as we were with the spectacle of Alex Honnold’s rope-less El Cap ascent profiled in Free Solo. Knowing an opportunity to monetize when they see one, LV recently unveiled its $1,600 Chalk Nano Bag – a climbing-inspired bag draped in the company’s iconic monogram pattern. “With a supple shape inspired by climbers’ chalk bags, this item can be comfortably worn on the shoulder or across the body,” Louis Vuitton’s website explains.
The only problem? The Chalk Nano Bag ain’t a chalk bag at all, not that any self-respecting climber would spend $1,600 on a chalk bag anyway. “Beware not to scratch or rub your product against abrasive surfaces, especially the leather trim,” the company warns in its product care guide. Oh, you mean abrasive surfaces like rock? The very surfaces climbers climb from which you drew inspiration in the first place?
Also, this: “Keep your product away from damp or humid environments and avoid direct exposure to sunlight.” Oh, you mean avoid extended periods of time outdoors? Got it.