Has adidas Struck a New Deal With Ye?

March 02, 2023 by Joey Birch

Has adidas Struck a New Deal With Ye?

As quickly as the deal between adidas and Ye came to end, it seemed to rear its head once again with an apparent deal between the two coming to fruition in a bid to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of YEEZY branded stock that was left gathering dust in adidas warehouses across the globe. 

Last year, following a tirade of antisemitic comments, various social media lash-outs against some of adidas’ leading figures as the founder of YEEZY wearing a highly controversial ‘White Lives Matter’ t-shirt at Paris Fashion Week, the Three Stripes finally decided to cut ties with the rapper, fashion designer and entrepreneur despite calls for action taking place for some time before. 

It seemed that adi had perhaps been preparing for the departure of West for some time, when they released their ‘adiFOM Q’ in addition to the ‘Adilette’, both of which held a significant resemblance to the highly popular Foam Runner and Slide. Additionally, soon after the announcement that the duo had indeed parted ways, it was revealed that adidas was gearing up to continue releasing YEEZY silhouettes without the branding. This was backed up by leaked imagery providing a first look at the 350 V2 and 500 which were slated to release in 2023. 

However, we’ve now arrived in 2023 and there’s still no sign of the unbranded collection. 

Furthering the matter in December last year, adidas released what was widely believed to be a first look at the upcoming Fear of God collection that the streetwear brand’s founder Jerry Lorenzo had been working on, with only a hoodie to suggest what fans could expect to see. Despite the FOG aesthetic, the collaborating brand was quick to issue a statement that seemed to suggest trouble in the water between the two, reading: “Jerry Lorenzo and Fear of God are not involved or connected to the adidas Basketball ‘Remember The Why’ campaign and collection”, then going onto suggest that the arrangements had changed, saying: “The partnership between Jerry Lorenzo and adidas has evolved over the past two years”

With adidas reporting a $50 million drop in revenue following the departure of Ye and YEEZY, with the line acting as one of adidas’ highest-grossing of all time, the potential alienation or FOG, who were assumed to fill the gap left by the departure of YEEZY, could be the reason for the latest set of reports coming from the Three Stripes. 

Attention was first brought to the situation on the 9th of February when adidas released a press release outlining what 2023 could look like for them with an especially close focus on YEEZY. The report confirms that the $50 million drop in revenue after releasing Ye was just the tip of the iceberg with the sportswear brand projecting to see a $1.4 billion drop in revenue by the end of the year. 

“The numbers speak for themselves. We are currently not performing the way we should”, said adidas’ CEO Bjørn Gulden, “2023 will be a year of transition to set the base to again be a growing and profitable company…We need to put the pieces back together again, but I am convinced that over time we will make adidas shine again. But we need some time”

Shortly after the press release, it was reported by the Retail Gazette that an agreement had been met between Ye and adidas that would see the brand selling the remaining stock of adidas x YEEZY products valued at around $500 million. 

At the time of writing, the details surrounding the deal are unconfirmed including which products will be released, how long will the deal last and additionally how the products will be released with the usual process including a collection of limited drops via the adidas Confirmed app. 

Another question that has to be explored is: How will re-signing Ye to adidas, regardless of the length of time, affect the brand outside of sales? 

The reason adi made the ultimate decision to cut ties with West was following the slue of controversial gestures and outbursts which would have ultimately tainted any brand that stood by him after the fact. 

Will the decision to sign a new deal with Ye backfire on adidas, with fans seeing the deal as the sportswear brand going against their position on antisemitism? Either way, adidas are stuck between a rock and hard place with the coming months set to be pivotal not only for their 2023 performance but also 2024 and beyond. 

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