Adidas puts partnership with US rapper-designer Kanye West under review
FRANKFURT – German sporting goods maker Adidas on Thursday said it has put under review its business partnership with American rapper and fashion designer Kanye West.
“After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review. We will continue to co-manage the current product during this period,” the company said.
American news outlet CNBC, which first reported the news, said West had been publicly critical of Adidas and its CEO and told the broadcaster that the German group was copying his ideas.
Adidas has been partnering with West since 2013, in an agreement that is said to be one of the fashion industry’s most lucrative royalty deals.
It was set to expire in 2026.
“Adidas has always been about creativity, innovation and supporting athletes and artists to achieve their vision. The Adidas Yeezy partnership is one of the most successful collaborations in our industry’s history,” Adidas said.
“We also recognise that all successful partnerships are rooted in mutual respect and shared values.”
News about Adidas putting the partnership under review comes less than a month after West’s lawyers sent a letter to Gap Inc notifying the apparel chain he was terminating his partnership with the company.
West responded on Instagram by cursing at Adidas and repeating his accusation that the company has stolen his product designs. He has had longstanding disagreements about how the line has been managed.
Last month, West and his other prominent corporate partner Gap Inc split after similar turmoil between the two parties. That apparel deal was supposed to run through 2030.
In a September interview with Bloomberg, West disavowed his corporate deals and said it was time to do business on his own, sharing plans to open his own stores.
“It’s time for me to go it alone,” he said. “No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”
More recently, he has drawn widespread criticism for doubling down on his controversial White Lives Matter slogan, which appeared on apparel he sent down the runway in a surprise Yeezy show at Paris Fashion Week on Monday. – REUTERS/BLOOMBERG