“We are living in a world now where the old order of things, large companies, mainstream media, are all falling apart. We don’t really know what’s going to emerge out of this recession, and in that kind of environment, entrepreneurs are the ones that are going to be able to thrive…I think people nowadays have to let go of their old habits and wake up, it’s a new world. More and more you have to be like a hustler and think of yourself and your own future.” Robert Greene, Author: The 48 Laws of Power– as told to AllHipHop.com (2009)
With the release of Thug Motivation: 103, last year, Young Jeezy had officially evolved from the slightly-chubby dope boy we met in 2004, into a grown a** man. A new fitness regimen has slimmed him down, age has made him quite handsome, and mainstream songs like “I Do,” and “Leave You Alone” have solidified a loyal female fan base. And just like that, the dope boy is suddenly a heartthrob. And the street economist is suddenly… well, no, that didn’t change much. With a fifth studio album coming this fall, he proves he still has (hustler) ambition and a keen eye for power moves.
Young Jeezy has recently entered into two very unique partnerships. He’s aligned himself and CTE with Avion Tequila, a boutique spirits company voted the “World’s Best Tasting Tequila,” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition—the highest honor in the spirits industry. The deal with Avion came on the heels of a grand opening/grand closing short-lived agreement as a Ciroc Boy, announced last September and done by the year’s end.
His newest partnership is with Gourmet Footwear, an LA-based sportswear and footwear company. With Gourmet, as with Avion, Jeezy has chosen to forego conventional endorsements with big companies for strategic partnerships with smaller niche brands.“The relationship with Gourmet isn’t an endorsement, it’s a partnership,” Young Jeezy emphasized during the launch at the popular Atlanta boutique, Wish. “I wanted to collaborate with a boutique brand and Gourmet has a style and vibe that just meshes with mine – part street, part sophistication. It’ll be cool to start getting involved with the creative process for new collections.”
Gourmet Footwear was founded in 2005 by Greg Lucci, Greg Johnsen, and Jon Buscemi. Fashion industry experts, the founders of the company have developed casual and athletic footwear for men and women made of luxurious fabrics, air-light soles, and high-fashion styling. The shoes also have great prices with most pairs around $110. And the brand is rapidly expanding. In their first season, in 2006, they made 1000 pairs, their second season–15,000, and so on. “Gourmet sells to the kid who knows to wear something that costs $10, and something that costs $1,000 together. The kid who realizes that style and fashion aren’t the same,” says Greg Lucci, in explaining an ideal Gourmet customer, ”Not the kid who goes into the Dior store and buys everything Dior and wears it all together. That’s not our guy. Our guy can wear a $10 pair of trackpants, a pair of our shoes, and a $60,000 watch.”
It seems like the relationship between Gourmet and Young Jeezy will prove to be a remix of the relationship between the music industry and fashion icons, “Part of what we’re trying to do is document how the fashion industry, and the music industry and even the art industry work together,” Lucci says, ”They were all started by a bunch of countercultures who weren’t ‘cool,’ we all started as weirdo countercultures that hung out together.”
More on Gourmet Footwear, including where to find them, is available on their website GourmetFootwear.com and join the partnership online by following Young Jeezy on Instagram @YoungJeezy. Check the video for our exclusive interview with Young Jeezy and Greg Lucci.