The partnership between Adidas and Kanye West, which has been instrumental in sustaining the brand's heat in the U.S. market last year, is to be reinforced with the launch of Adidas + Kanye West – a partnership run by a separate business entity, involving dedicated stores and a Yeezy-branded product range to cover fashion as well as performance sports apparel, footwear and accessories.
Never one to shy away from superlatives, Adidas described the agreement with the rap artist as a “transformative” tie-up and the “most significant partnership ever” between a non-athlete and an athletic brand. A dedicated Adidas team will lead the development and creation of all Yeezy products from the group's North American head office in Portland. The company has yet to announce leadership for this entity.
Adidas declined to provide details on the arrangements for the deal or the opening of standalone stores in the coming years. The group added that Yeezy products will continue to be available through physical and online Adidas stores, and through a few wholesale partners. The sports products are to be designed “for varying athletic pursuits,” with details to be disclosed later.
After Adidas poached West from Nike, the Yeezy range under the Adidas Originals division has done much to create buzz around the brand. It met avid demand with the Yeezy Boost 750 in February 2015 and the low-cut Yeezy Boost 350 with Premiknit uppers a few months later - much sought-after on the secondary market. The demand may have been supported by the scarcity of the product, which was sold in limited editions. The company declined to say how many pairs have been sold, but the reinforced partnership with West could make the product less exclusive.
While apparel and sportswear makers have long teamed up with singers and actors to wear and promote their products, they have only more recently started to partner with such personalities to actually help design them. The most striking example of this trend is the partnership between Puma and Rihanna, which has also strongly supported the brand's heat and its business in the women's category..