When we first saw the images of the soon to be released Kanye West Nikes, it was difficult to ignore the similarity, especially because the rapper-turned-designer is no stranger to imitation allegations. Remember his Fall 2012 collection and its striking similarity to some big name design labels? We were willing to write that one off as coincidence, but another coincidence? We are less inclined to think so.
The most notable feature of West's design is the reptilian-like rear spikes, which got us thinking back to Puma A/W 2011. Puma's creative director, It-Brit designer Hussein Chalayan, presented two collections last year for the German sportswear label: A/W 2011 and S/S 2012, both of which focused heavily on sneakers with similar rear spikes.
It is important to note that neither the Puma version nor the Kanye West version really break the mold in terms of the sneakers themselves. Both sneakers are pretty true to the existing aesthetic of the respective labels; thus, the selling point is automatically placed on the spikes (as well as on the names of the designers themselves).
While adding some spikes to a sneaker may not seem like a deal-breaker, this is taking design novelty for granted. Based on our research, Hussein Chalayan for Puma was the first sneaker to incorporate such such spikes. As such, unless this was "independent creation" on Kanye's part (which is not likely given Kanye's following of Chalayan's designs), the similarity between the designs amounts to imitation. Decide for yourself, but we say: unless you can come up with something original, leave design to the professionals and stick to music, Kanye.