The sports shoe-loving community can’t help but worry about the future of Yeezy – a popular shoe design combined by Ye and Adidas.
What future for Yeezy, Adidas, and Kanye West?
On October 25, Adidas Group followed Balenciaga, Vogue, Gap, TJMaxx, and music agency CAA to terminate all links with rapper and designer Kanye West. The reason is that in recent months, Kanye West has often made controversial moves. He behaved extravagantly, threatened his ex-wife’s family, made racist statements, and unilaterally waged war on his partners.
At Paris Fashion Week in September 2022, Ye – another self-proclaimed name by Kanye West – launched T-shirts bearing the words White Lives Matter (roughly translated: act for white people’s rights) in the fashion show Yeezy Season 9. Many people think that the male rapper tries to divide and unite the races.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, “White Lives Matter” is a white supremacist phrase, a subgroup of the neo-Nazi wave. This is a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement that originated in early 2015.
Not stopping there, Ye continued to respond to extremes after facing criticism for the Yeezy show. He posted insults to Jews on social media. This caused social media sites to block his account for having provocative words.
Before Ye’s behavior, brands that were close to him such as Balenciaga and Vogue immediately cut ties. Adidas, which makes the rapper’s Yeezy line, was a bit slower to react. But before the wave of consumers calling for a boycott of Adidas, the German giant had to definitely break up with Ye.
Kanye’s full name is Kanye Omari West born on June 8, 1977. And since October 2021, he has registered another legal name, Ye.
Kanye West is primarily known as a multi-talented rapper, whose creations draw inspiration from all genres of music, from hip hop, soul, baroque pop, and electro through to gospel. Besides music, he started experimenting with fashion design in 2005, with many designs conquering street fashion enthusiasts.
Capital Yeezy is a combination of Kanye West and Nike. But realizing the male rapper’s creativity, Adidas recruited and invited him to join the team in 2013. After many small trials, the two sides officially cooperated for a long time in 2016. This cooperation helped the German brand. close the gap with Nike in the US market. Just earlier this month, Adidas called its partnership with Ye “one of the most successful in the history of our industry.”
However, it is often said that many talents have many defects. Coupled with the creative head are the successive markets. Ye used to feud with the whole showbiz. He made the public shake their heads in disgust when publicizing the list of enemies. From Taylor Swift, and Billie Eilish … to cartoon characters are also pinned, it’s like a joke! Even at the beginning of 2020, he also ran for the US presidential election. Finally, Kim Kardashian corrected that her husband suffered from bipolar disorder and had to break up because he couldn’t stand his behavior.
Also because of this erratic temperament, the prince who cooperated with everyone also caused waves. In the 2000s, when he collaborated with Nike, he once denounced the US brand for not paying him royalties.
Just last month, the male rapper attacked Gap that the Gap x Yeezy collection was too expensive compared to expectations. “I wanted the product for only $20, not 200,” he said. Then Gap and Kanye West parted bitterly despite having planned together for 10 years.
With Adidas, her partner for 7 years, Ye accused the German brand of copying its idea, “launching Adidas shoes that look like Yeezy”. He also mocked outgoing CEO Kasper Rorsted on social media. These factors have gradually cracked the relationship between Adidas and Kanye West.
It is unclear where the future of the Yeezy brand will go when the father of the brand is not popular with anyone.
The Yeezy brand originated from Kanye West’s first contract with Adidas in 2006. At the time, he designed a pair of sneakers for the German brand, but the product was never released to the public. For years, no one knew what a “06 Yeezus” pair looked like until Ben Pruess (global director of Adidas Originals) shared a photo of Kanye West’s design on Instagram.
After that, Kanye West temporarily parted ways with Adidas to cooperate with Nike. Recognizing the success of the Yeezy line, in 2013 Adidas signed a US$10 million contract to invite the male rapper to return to fashion design with him. This invitation was too suitable for Kanye West, who at the time was fighting with Nike. He accused Nike of not paying him royalties “because I’m not an athlete”.
Adidas built Yeezy as an independent brand with regular product launches, not limited-edition shoes that suddenly release (drop) as Nike does. This made Kanye satisfied and devoted his creativity to Yeezy.
Its designs quickly became iconic worldwide. Fancy design but is extremely street. Comfortable material, sturdy but lightweight sole. And most importantly, the affordable price has helped Yeezy easily win the hearts of the hip-hop community – a community that loves comfort, and dust but still has to be quality.
Right after Adidas announced the termination of the contract with Ye West, the transfer value of Yeezy products on the secondhand market immediately increased dramatically. According to the Wall Street Journal, the general price level of products has increased by 20% in just 24 hours. Many people rushed to buy Yeezy products because they were afraid that Adidas would stop producing the product.
However, this is not the intention of Adidas. Since Yeezy products account for 7% of the company’s total sales, it is estimated at 250 million euros. Discontinuing the production of Yeezy will cause Adidas to lay off employees and adversely affect the overall business situation. As a result, the German brand announced it would continue to sell Yeezy’s current products without interference from Kanye West. They will be rebranded and join the main line of Adidas in early 2023.
“Adidas legally owns the existing designs,” says RBC analyst Piral Dadhania. “The company believes this is the best way to minimize losses. And will also save on advertising costs [for Ye] from 2023.”
However, Yeezy products, when they no longer carry the Yeezy label and are not promoted by Ye West, are difficult to create as attractive as before. They will no longer be sought after when they cannot create a fever in the transfer market. “Adidas will have a hard time replicating the success of Yeezy without Kanye,” said Kola Tyler, founder of the Dropout streetwear store in Milan.
Although the brand has a strong fan base, Kanye West personally will also face difficulties if he wants to bring the Yeezy brand to a third partner. Recently, he went to Skechers General Department in Los Angeles with an offer to bring Yeezy to this company to produce, but was asked to leave “because of no appointment and illegal filming”. “I think the Yeezy era is over,” said Dylan Dittrich, head of research at market research firm Altan Insights.
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