"Join the mafia, and stop taking Ls on every release," reads the Yeezy Mafia homepage.
The group is quickly becoming a go-to source for Yeezy leaks and release dates, far before they are ever announced by adidas Originals. When I first scanned the name Yeezy Mafia in notorious Facebook group Yeezy Talk Worldwide, I was highly skeptical that any group could forecast drop dates with accuracy. But when the "Light Brown" 750s and "Beluga" V2s arrived on the same dates prophesied by the mafia, I started to believe.
Not only does Yeezy Mafia have an impressive track record when predicting release dates, but the group also claims to have intimate knowledge of size runs, even advising followers on which colorways will sell out quickest.
Aside from landing on the radar of sneakerheads and writers like myself, even the adidas Originals Twitter account and insider heads like Jon Wexler are acknowledging Yeezy Mafia.
While the group itself is well known in sneaker groups online, not much has been revealed about the individuals behind it. Until now. We got in touch with Yeezy Mafia founder Yiannis and some others members of the group, who answered some of our questions below.
First, how many members are in Yeezy Mafia, and how did you guys meet each other? Where are you located? Who came up with the name?
We are a small community of around 50 individuals spread across the world, from Europe and the U.S. to Asia and Australia. We met on forums and social media, where I got in contact with a few interested individuals looking to build a group to hunt Yeezys. I came up with the name, which I found catchy from the start, although I had also considered Yeezy Pirates (laughs).
What is the main purpose of the group? How important is Twitter for you?
Primarily, we are sneaker resellers, with computing skills and knowledge that allow us to purchase coveted sneakers on websites while others are left with frustrating “Sold Out/Out of Stock” messages. Concerning our computing skills, we use exploits on e-commerce sites, most retailers have plenty. Sometimes we can add to cart even check out before the release.
Everyone can do it with a bit of research, but everyone is lazy and wants all-in-one solutions like buying a sneaker bot. The fact that we are synchronized 24/7 gives us the possibility to catch every online release.
Membership to Yeezy Mafia gives you access to the community where we are connected 24/7, we can alert each other on restocks, and provide tools to make your life easier, such as an inventory checker that works on multiple websites, database product scanners to find early links, and other tutorials.
As a direct tool of communication, we use Twitter and Instagram as a way of giving to the community, by sharing the latest images and information regarding exclusive/upcoming releases. We are also close to our followers and reply to questions, and even assist them during releases by doing giveaways for the most loyal ones.
Do you think sneaker leaks are beneficial for adidas?
It really depends on the situation. If it's an item that's already in production with a set release date, then it tends to help build the hype and anticipation for the product. If there isn't a set release date or it's meant to be a surprise release, then I could see why leaks might be considered "hurting" the Three Stripes brand...But this could be positive as it allows the design team to hear feedback and make changes to improve the overall aesthetic of the final product.
Your group often claims to have early information on release dates and colorways, can you discuss how?
It is as simple as...we have good medium skills...and the crystal ball helps.
Certain sneakerheads often claim to have “sample” YEEZYs, particularly of the V2, is it likely these are authentic? How would someone get samples in the first place?
It’s difficult to get authentic samples, but since a few months there has been a new trend is the sale of high-quality sample replicas, and the similarity of those V2 Replica Samples is well scary.
Samples are regulated by adidas and they are strictly not for sale; not anyone can get samples unless they pay some serious money, for example 350 "White" samples are said to have sold for $8,000, yet now we see multiple people selling "Friends & Family" unreleased samples for $2,000. Something is not right there.
What is the group’s stance on sneaker bots?
Bots have unequivocally changed the game. While some may argue they are a necessity to cop the most hyped shoes, they've made getting the newest shoes extremely chaotic and difficult. With no disrespect to programmers - who are simply putting their skills to work - we do not support bots, as we've seen them really take the excitement and joy out of the hunt. Buying a bot is like getting a gym membership for your New Year's resolution, then never going back after the first week.
How quickly have you developed a following?
We started to tweet in May 2016, and in six months we have reached almost 50k followers on Twitter and Instagram. It was a snowball effect due to the accuracy of our information and the exclusive content we posted, which gets shared extensively (blogs, Reddit, forums, social media). All the support we have received only makes us stronger and motivates us to help the community we know and love.
What does the future hold for Yeezy Mafia?
We will continue to give people updates and information about releases. Among our community there has been some demand for YEEZY Mafia apparel too...a Mafia-dedicated marketplace could also be in the works for 2017, so keep your eyes peeled.
Finally, can you predict some Yeezy releases for us?
We are already getting three nice colorways on November 23, but if you miss out on those, you may have another chance in time for Christmas. 2017 looks exciting for both adults and kids...