Wherever youth culture goes, bootlegs aren't far behind. Despite fuzzy legalities (and overreach), the medium of adopting and adapting original creations to fit your own whims has even reached the luxury realm, though Father LLC's Air Yeezy "Meta" sneakers are very much in that legal grey area.
Bootlegs are already a divisive subject. Some are coveted grails in their own right, others are fakes by another name.
Sneakerheads have an inherent sense of distrust when dealing with bootlegs. Perhaps bootleg kicks that swipe original silhouettes for their own purposes trigger some kind of brand loyalty or read as pale imitations.
Let's not forget that one of the OGs got his big break partially on the strength of a sincere bootleg, though.
Still, Father LLC — also known as Meta (no relation) — has set off a social media firestorm with its Air Yeezy riff, the "October Pink" or "Living in Question."
On Highsnobiety's Instagram post, comments range from "I don’t care how much they paid you guys to promote this riddler shoe, take this shit down NOW" (FWIW, Father LLC didn't pay to be featured) and "this is bad on all accounts, I hope no one actually wears these unironically."
It's not all aggro: "yall been wearing “bootleg” 1s for the last 2 years but Yeezys is where yall draw the line," one commenter points out, while another says that "if this is the next era of bootlegs im down."
There are even a few questions about the price, though the comments are far more positive on Father LLC's posts.
To know Father LLC is to know a little bit about the bleeding edge of underground cool.
Li, Wong, and friends like Gab3 are basically unknown to the larger streetwear culture but have thousands of die-hards tracking their moves across social media, keeping up with their weirdo clothing lines and cheeky parody product.
Elsewhere, Wong's personal page now redirects to Father LLC's website, showcasing several sold-out balaclavas that riff on an archival Prada design down to the logo. Less provocative than the faux Air Yeezys, to be sure, but of a similar vein.
So, what's the point? Well, there's money to be made with anything Kanye-adjacent and its fun to piss off sneakerheads but Li and Wong's "October Pink" Air Yeezy is really a just reminder that there are no sacred cows in streetwear.
Anything that exists can be swiped and reiterated by anyone.
Remember that Virgil Abloh, Li and Wong's spiritual mentor, cited Marcel Duchamp — the progenitor of repurposed art — as an influence.
The "October Pink" exists as an extension of that ideology, emblematic of both streetwear's past and its brave new future. Great artists steal, after all, and design is the freshest scam.
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