Adidas and Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, have come to an agreement to sell the remaining Yeezy stock currently sitting in the brand’s warehouses. The partnership between the brand and the rapper came to a halt in October last year when Yeezy made anti-Semitic remarks on social media and in interviews. This decision has already cost Adidas US$441 million in sales in the first quarter of 2023. Selling the remaining Yeezy products would allow the sportswear brand to avoid a potential loss of more than €700 million (approx.S$997 million) (source).
Adidas has committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Yeezys to non-profit organizations (beneficiaries yet to be disclosed). In a shareholder’s meeting, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden confirmed that the brand seeks to “sell parts of this inventory and donate money to the organizations that are helping us and that were also hurt by Kanye’s statements.” Ye will be receiving commissions as part of this new deal amounting to 15% of the turnover.
The new agreement has quickly begun to take effect with Adidas UK listing the Yeezy 500 and 350v2 on their site. Leaks continue to unveil new models and colorways that were meant to be released as part of the Yeezy line. This includes a re-release of the Yeezy Boost 350 “Pirate Black” and unreleased models like the Yeezy Boost 350 v2 “Granite”, a new Yeezy 500 colorway, Foam Runners MX Blue, Yeezy Slide MX and YZY 700 V3 Foam Knit.
Meanwhile, Adidas is looking to evolve beyond Yeezy. In a recent interview with Footwear News, Bjørn said a key focus for the lifestyle division would be to find a replacement for Yeezy under their fast-growing running lifestyle category and this includes moving away from ‘American Street Culture’. Even though it works for their key competitor, Nike, which is based out of the U.S., he stated, “we need to do it in a different way.” This new approach entails the need for lifestyle “creation centers” in locations like L.A., Tokyo and Shanghai where the brand can focus on more localized demand – details will be unveiled at the end of 2023.