Though Kanye West is known for his radical opinions, nobody expected him to come out with algae-based Yeezy shoes. Well, it turns out, he’s joining the cadre of celebrities who have expressed their concern for the environment. And more so, he is echoing the sentiment that every business has a responsibility towards sustainable development. At the recent Fast Company Innovation Festival, Kanye revealed a new algae-based Yeezy design and plans to make older models environmentally friendly too.
Though for now the details of it all are still unclear, Kanye’s intent seems genuine enough for a start. In this day and age, it is understood that innovation and sustainability go hand in hand in any business. People expect the brands they know and love to have a proactive stance towards today’s sustainability problems.
So to take a step back, what is the algae craze anyway? And why, out of all materials, is Kanye looking to use algae in the newest Yeezy shoes?
The Algae Problem
Algae is typically harmless, but not when it grows out of control. Because farmers use excess fertilizer, plants don’t absorb it and it runs into bodies of water to feed algae colonies instead. And global warming isn’t helping either. Because algae grows in warm conditions, this summer’s weather resulted in a significant spike in algae levels.
High concentrations of algae lead to high concentrations of cyanobacteria, which can have adverse health effects. These can range from abdominal pain to severe respiratory paralysis. Moreover, this surplus of algae blocks sunlight from reaching plankton, which effectively disrupts aquatic food chains.
Kanye West Has A Solution
The new Yeezys require far less fossil fuels than its more environmentally-taxing counterparts. Though the shoe still contains a few petroleum-based chemicals, the main component, the algae-based foam, eliminates a good amount.
Because algae is renewable and abundant, it is a perfect candidate to use to make a shoe. Using it to make eco-friendly everyday items can mitigate several environmental threats.
Kanye West Is Revamping The Older Models Too
West hasn’t completely forgotten about his older models. The company plans to move its headquarters to a 4,000-acre ranch in Wyoming, where it can farm all the fibers it needs.
Production will also move to the United States, where the company will also work on creating low-impact dyes. After all, dyes also create significant fashion-related environmental hazards.
It is always a pleasant surprise to see celebrities show concern about the planet and actually do something to tackle environmental issues. Kanye West, known already for his radical approach to fashion, seems to be a shoo-in for an initiative like the one he’s started.
Although his ideas are at their earliest stages, they show great promise, both to the environment and fashion worlds. And we can only wait to see what comes of them.