Kanye Reveals DONDA Car, Steven Smith as Industrial Design Head


“Thank god I ain’t too cool for the safe belt,” Kanye West rapped on “Through the Wire.” To think that Ye’d go from rapping about surviving a car crash to designing his own cars — the mind reels.

Then again, this is the guy behind YEEZY Home, the same one who has aims to perhaps create a complete line of home goods and NFTs (seriously).

But, for now, there’s the DONDA car, newly revealed by Ye’s company purely as a conceptual design.

The “DONDA foam car” was made public on July 5, the same day it apparently confirmed veteran footwear designer Steven Smith as head of DONDA Industrial Design, a branch of DONDA that I frankly did not know even existed.

How can one keep up with the enigmatic imprint that’s even low-key about even DONDA Academy, its own school?

But, like YEEZY, it seems like DONDA is wading into the field of industrial design, or at least auto innovation. Not too surprising, given West’s own predilection for custom cars.

So, who is Steven Smith?

A nearly six-year veteran of what he calls the “YEEZY Lab,” where he serves as design director, the self-described “Godfather of dad shoes” has designed major sneaker silhouettes for nearly every sportswear company that matters.

To be specific, Smith had a hand in creating New Balance’s omnipresent 574 and 997, Reebok’s Instapump Fury, Nike’s Air Spiridon Cage 2 and, at YEEZY, the inimitable BOOST 700, colloquially known as the Wave Runner.

“[Kanye] pushes me and we go to new places and together as a team, we all create things that people have never seen before,” Smith told Highsnobiety in 2021.

“You’re bringing [people] into the future and they don’t quite understand the future until it’s right in front of them.”

With all that being said, I do wonder how much Ye’s pal Elon Musk had to do with the conceptual DONDA Foam Car.

Admittedly, it’ll probably not be produced — at least not in this illustrative form — but the fact that the DONDA car’s description says that it’s “designed” and “manufactured in the States” (“amen”) makes me think that there may be at least crossover with Elon Musk’s domestic Tesla facilities, especially given how cozy the two billionaires are.

Pure speculation, of course, but we all know how much Ye loves bringing his friends into various projects.

Sure, brands as big as Jeep, Ford, and Honda reportedly make at least a few cars in America but Kanye ain’t nearly as pally with them as he is with Musk, who share similarly maddening political philosophies and are both perpetually online.





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