Both parties have high aspirations, suggested the German sportswear giant.
“Neither ascribes to the typical stereotypes of athletes and what ath-leisure clothing and footwear should be, and instead, will bring to life a shared vision of inclusion that will forever alter the opportunities and landscape for all,” Adidas said.
“Adidas has had tremendous success in pushing creative boundaries,” noted Beyoncé.
The singer and actress will retain ownership of her company, said Adidas, which mentioned the importance of women in leadership, noting Beyoncé would continue “her journey as one of the first black women to be the sole owner of an ath-leisure brand.”
“Beyoncé is an iconic creator but also a proven business leader, and together, we have the ability to inspire change and empower the next generation of creators,” said Eric Liedtke, an executive board member who is in charge of the company’s global brands.
Ivy Park started out as an equally owned venture between Beyoncé and Topshop tycoon Philip Green in three years ago, generating such high traffic on the Topshop web site that it triggered technical delays at checkout. A stand-alone brand, it was also sold at around a dozen other retailers, including Net-a-porter, Zalando and Nordstrom, where it shot to the top of brands leading sales on the department store’s web site during the week of its launch.
Illustrating how the singer’s star power translated to commercial muscle, Slice Intelligence noted that 40 percent of online Ivy Park buyers had also purchased Beyoncé’s music after analyzing data from purchases made by 4 million shoppers at the time. The Ivy Park launch outpaced the release of Athleta by Derek Lam and Kate Spade’s yoga launch, according to the analytics firm. It noted leggings, pants and tanks had led sales, with purchases averaging at $129 an order.
Beyoncé’s company Parkwood last year took full ownership of Ivy Park, buying out Green, who became embroiled in allegations of sexual and racial harassment last year. Green has denied all allegations.
Apparel has been gaining steam at Adidas, catching up with its footwear activity at the end of last year, after three years of shoes leading the business.
The company was caught off guard by the shift, and failed to meet a strong increase in demand for mid-priced apparel due to supply-chain shortages, which will likely negatively impact the company’s performance this year, particularly in North America during the first half, it said last month.
The partnership between Adidas and Beyoncé is the latest example of the tightening grip of celebrity ties on the sportswear sector.
Smaller rival Puma has been active on this front, with partnerships that include a roster of superstars: Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Beyoncé’s husband, Jay Z, who has been instrumental in a recent push to revive the label’s basketball activities. Rihanna, meanwhile, energized the German activewear brand with her Fenty by Puma project, which she followed up with a push into other areas: beauty and lingerie, with plans to launch a luxury brand with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, sources have told WWD.
Gomez, who counts 148 million followers, added an apparel offer to her Puma partnership late last year, launched through a video posted on the sportswear company’s Instagram account, showing Gomez and five of her close friends citing keywords that inspired the collaboration.
The sporting goods industry as a whole is set to grow around 10 percent this year, according to analysts at RBC Capital markets. The analysts expect the “democratization” of Kanye West’s Yeezy footwear line to be the cornerstone of Adidas’ product strategy this year — moving away from the “scarcity” model previously associated with the line. West has been working with Adidas since 2013, after leaving Nike because of a lack of royalties and not being able to produce as many sneakers as he wanted to.
Following the soaring success of the Stan Smith and Superstar sneakers in years, Adidas successfully navigated the move by consumers last year toward chunkier models, fueled by luxury brands like Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton, according to analysts at HSBC. The company’s fast reaction time, thanks to improved supply chains, helped it adapt to the trend, which had caught sportswear companies by surprise.
In a U.S. survey conducted by HSBC last December, Adidas held the number-two spot after Nike as the favored sportswear brand among wealthy consumers; in China, a February survey showed Adidas edged in front of Nike.
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