Adidas Announces It Will Relaunch Kanye West Shoe Designs Without the Yeezy Name
Adidas plans to relaunch Kanye West shoe designs after cutting ties with the disgraced rapper – and said it will drop the Yeezy name in the process.
The German sportswear giant said on Wednesday it intended to retire the shoes from their “Ye” brand but retain the same designs. The move could save Adidas more than $300 million in royalty payments.
“Let’s be clear, we all own the [intellectual property], we own all the designs, we own all the releases and new colorways, it’s our product,” Adidas chief financial officer Harm Ohlmeyer said on the call. “We intend to make use of these rights as early as 2023.”
The announcement comes just over two weeks after Adidas drops collaboration with rap star West, also known as “Ye”, following his series of anti-Semitic tirades. Adidas and West first teamed up to create the Yeezy line of shoes in 2013.
The company has come under fire for not divorcing the former billionaire sooner, which many have attributed to Ye-branded shoes raking in nearly $2 billion in sales last year for Adidas, according to Morgan Stanley.
In order to recoup that revenue, Adidas will first have to defeat Ye’s loyalists, many of whom are unhappy with the company’s decision to continue selling the shoes.
“Adidas is stupid as f–k if you sell Yeezy without Kanye the backlash is gonna be crazy,” one Twitter user said.
“Bad business practices. I don’t buy Yeezy products without Ye.” another tweet read.
Many users have warned that the new Adidas branded shoes will be unmarketable as any social media posts will be riddled with hate from Kanye West fans.
Kanye West himself has denounced previous attempts by Adidas to market Yeezy-type shoes without his permission.
In June, the company released slides that looked like a Yeezy design. West called them “fake Yeezys made by Adidas themselves” and later said, “I am no longer advocating this blatant copycat.”