Kanye West isn’t sugarcoating it any more. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, the rapper-turned-fashion mogul who now goes by “Ye” said he wants to drop Adidas and Gap and continue his design journey on his own terms.
In an interview with Bloomberg, West said it was time for him to “go it alone” and cut ties from the corporate entities linked to his Yeezy brand, namely Adidas and Gap. The statement comes after Ye completed a days-long tirade on Instagram, where he expressed his disappointment with Adidas, which manufactures his Yeezy brand.
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In a series of now-deleted Instagram posts, West called out Adidas for allegedly copying his designs, as well as not giving him enough control over his products and not opening up Yeezy stores, among other grievances. West also suggested he wanted to terminate his deal with the company and have Adidas pay him $2 billion in damages. Adidas has declined to comment. FN has reached out to Gap for a comment.
Although details of West’s contract are unknown, Bloomberg reported that West’s Yeezy business made $191 million in royalties from the Adidas partnership in 2020.
After designing for Nike, West signed a deal with Adidas in 2013. In June 2016, Adidas and West announced they had extended their partnership, calling it a “Yeezy-branded entity creating footwear, apparel and accessories for all genders across street and sport.” In 2021, he struck a 10-year deal for Yeezy Gap with Gap Inc. and the option to renew after 5 years.
In recent days West has stated his goals to part from Adidas and Gap. Last week, he suggested an interest in partnering with Authentic Brands Group, whose roster of brands includes Forever 21, Barneys New York, J.C. Penney, Reebok, Muhammad Ali, Shaquille O’Neal, Marilyn Monroe and more. He also said he’s looking for experienced employees to man his streetwear label’s stores, which he plans to open around the world.
According to Bloomberg, West plans to open up “Donda campuses,” which will sell Yeezy products. The report also said West will be partnering with former Adidas executive Eric Liedtke. Liedtke declined to comment.
Despite his frustrations, it is unclear if West will be able to get out of his contracts with either entity. West himself described his corporate partners as his “baby mamas” that will have to co-parent his products, Bloomberg reported.
According to legal experts, Adidas likely owns most of the intellectual property in the Yeezy partnership. And even if the brand itself wanted to claim a breach of contract from West — due to a violation of confidentiality or disparagement — it is unlikely they’d pursue it.
“Adidas was sort of going downhill until the Yeezys came out,” Zak Kurtz, a provider of sneaker and streetwear legal services who goes by Sneaker Legal on Instagram said. “If Adidas loses Kanye, I think that could definitely be a big hit to them.”
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