After a public tussle between Kanye West and brand partners Adidas and Gap, Mr West has said he will “go it alone” when their respective contracts expire.
In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Ye, Mr West’s official name, stated: “It’s time for me to go it alone. I made the companies money. The companies made me money. We created ideas that will change apparel forever. Like the round jacket, the foam runner, the slides that have changed the shoe industry. Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”
Contractually, Ye will have to stay put unless a buy-out is agreed. The Yeezy Adidas contract runs until 2026, while the Yeezy Gap agreement expires in 2030. Mr West took to Instagram this summer calling out Adidas for copying Yeezy products. It is just one of many areas of friction between the two companies, where Adidas has control over brand management and distribution, as well as ownership of patents. In 2020 Ye earned a reported 191 million dollars in royalties from Adidas.
“No one should be held in that position where people can steal from them and say we’re just paying you to shut up,” Ye told Bloomberg. “That destroys innovation.
At Gap Inc. the American high street giant was seen as the ideal partner to sell democratised fashion at affordable price points. Ye previously stated a desire to be elected to the company’s board and be included in strategy meetings. Neither Adidas or Gap have publicly responded to any of the comments.
In a series of Instagram posts Ye aired his frustration at both companies, hinting at goals to leave, and calling out Authentic Brand Group as a potential partner.
While Yeezy Supply operates its own e-commerce platform, the company does not have extensive retail experience or manufacturing prowess. On social media Ye asked for experienced retail professionals to get in touch.