As Adidas ended a lucrative yet turbulent 9-year business partnership with Kanye West—or Ye—the company is looking to move forward without the embattled rapper. With sole ownership over the designs of the shoes created under the brand, Adidas is looking to continue selling the products made under the Yeezy umbrella without its Nazi-tied spokesperson.
“Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights registered to existing product,” Adidas Chief Financial Officer Harm Ohlmeyer said in a recent meeting, per Business Insider. “We intend to make use of these rights as early as 2023.”
The company shares it will save around $300 million a year in royalties and marketing fees as it severs ties with Ye, but this does little to counteract the lost revenue. Yeezy sales accounted for 8 percent of the company’s total sales, or $2 billion in total sales, per CNN. Ending the partnership with Ye back in October cost Adidas $250 million in profit and $500 million in lost revenue for the year.
The question remains: Will people buy shoes under the Yeezy brand without the approval of Yeezy himself? Adidas seems to tell itself yes, even if it won’t be as much as before. For the time being, this seems to be the plan and it’s sticking to it.
At the start of the year, Bjørn Gulden (who’s credited with turning Puma around) will take over as Adidas’ CEO. It couldn’t come at a more crucial time for the brand, as executives now are tasked with turning around a rough year.
In Vogue Business, Gulden says he opposes catering to the singular consumer or the “monobrand strategy” and instead prefers to focus on wholesale relationships with retailers. This ethos operates in opposition to Yeezy’s work as a brand, which pulls in individuals who ascribe themselves to the “hypebeast” lifestyle. Only time will tell what will happen to those funky, funky shoes.