Kanye's Crusade Against Corporate Bullying: A Cause for Justice"
The History of Adidas and Kanye West: Controversies and Collaborations
Adidas, the German multinational corporation, has a rich and complicated history. Founded in 1949 by Adi Dassler, the company has grown to become one of the largest sportswear manufacturers in the world. However, the company's history is not without controversy. During World War II, the company's shoe factories were turned into Nazi munitions factories, and Adidas was founded by members of the Nazi party. Despite this, Adidas was also responsible for outfitting legendary Black American runner Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic games held in Nazi Germany.
In 2013, Adidas signed a partnership with Kanye West and his brand, Yeezy, away from rival Nike. The partnership was marked by several controversies and disputes, particularly regarding the release of Yeezy products. In June 2022, Kanye accused Adidas of copying his designs, specifically the Adilette 22 slides, and claimed that they were a "fake Yeezy made by Adidas themselves." In August of the same year, Kanye made a series of accusations against Adidas in a direct message on Instagram, including that the company created Yeezy Day without his approval, brought back older styles without his approval, picked colors and named them without his approval, and stole colorways, styles, and material approaches without his approval.
In September 2022, Kanye claimed that Adidas offered him a $1 billion buyout, but he expressed frustration with the company for releasing products without his approval. In October 2022, JPMorgan cut ties with Kanye West and Yeezy, LLC, after an interview in which he announced his intention to stop banking with JPMorgan. In November 2022, Adidas plans to release more Yeezys under its own branding, despite objections from Kanye West. However, the same month, Adidas announced an investigation into allegations of misconduct made against Kanye West, including verbal abuse, bullying, offensive remarks, especially towards women, and sexual harassment.
In conclusion, Adidas and Kanye West have had a tumultuous partnership marked by several controversies and disputes. Despite this, Adidas remains one of the largest sportswear manufacturers in the world, and Kanye West continues to be a prominent figure in the fashion and music industries. Whether their collaboration will continue remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: their partnership has been a rollercoaster ride filled with drama, controversy, and controversy.
Chapter 1: The Rise of the Steroid Boots
It was a typical day at the New York Stock Exchange when the attendees of the Balenciaga Spring 23 show heard a strange sound approaching. It was a rubbery creaking that grew louder as it got closer, and then they saw him. Kanye West, the king of giant footwear, had arrived, wearing the largest boots anyone had ever seen.
These boots, later officially named the Steroid Boots, were the latest creation of the fashion house Balenciaga. They were a follow-up to the viral galosh-boots that Balenciaga had released with Crocs earlier that year. The Steroid Boots were made from a single mold and were thick in volume but lightweight. They looked like salvage diver boots, designed to keep a frogman anchored on the seafloor, but in reality, they would probably float.
Kanye, a top Balenciaga customer and on-off collaborator with the brand's creative director, Demna Gvasalia, was seen as a muse to the house. Kim Kardashian, Kanye's ex-wife, was a face of Balenciaga and had helped Demna pull off some of the brand's most impactful stunts. Kanye's taste for bottom-heavy proportions had already influenced a generation of hypebeasts, and it was hard to imagine the silhouette feeling legible without him showing his fans how to pull it off.
However, not everyone was a fan of the Steroid Boots. The general public would likely clown on a pair of boots that looked fit for circus clowns, but Demna and Kanye didn't care. Demna had famously said, "I am not interested in anything average, including the average consumer."
While everyone was looking at Kanye's boots, another fashion icon walked down Wall Street, almost unnoticed. Frank Ocean, a true north star for tasteful dudes who dress for other tasteful dudes, wore Prada derbies, slubby denim, a vintage green Adidas hoodie, and a minor league baseball team hat. His subtle style created space for more understated expression in the midst of the outrageous exaggerations of Kanye and Demna.
The Steroid Boots marked the beginning of a new era in fashion, where the lines between the average and the extraordinary were blurred. It was a time where anything was possible, and the only limit was one's imagination.
Chapter 2: The Sneaker Industry's Power Players
The sneaker industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with many players vying for a piece of the pie. However, two names stand out as the most prominent and successful players in the industry: Michael Jordan and Kanye West.
Michael Jordan's Jordan Brand, a subsidiary of Nike, generated $3.14 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending May 2019. This impressive revenue, combined with Jordan's personal earnings from the brand, estimated at $130 million, cements Jordan's status as one of the most successful athletes in the sneaker industry.
Similarly, Kanye West's Yeezys brand with Adidas generated $1.3 billion in revenue last year, with West receiving $140 million in royalties. This is $10 million more than Michael Jordan's estimated earnings from the Jordan Brand, despite the Yeezys brand generating $1.5 billion less in revenue.
While both Michael Jordan and Kanye West have made significant contributions to the sneaker industry, their brands and personal earnings differ greatly. The Jordan Brand is more focused on athletic performance, while the Yeezys brand is more of a lifestyle and fashion brand. Additionally, Jordan has been retired from the NBA for 16 years, while Kanye is still actively involved in the music and fashion industries.
These two power players in the sneaker industry highlight the importance of negotiation and favorable royalty agreements for personal earnings. Despite differences in brand focus and personal involvement, both Michael Jordan and Kanye West have achieved great success in the sneaker industry and continue to be relevant and influential names in the industry.
Chapter 3: The Accusations Against Adidas
Adidas, a leading sportswear company, has been at the center of controversy in recent years due to accusations made against the brand by prominent fashion designer and entrepreneur, Kanye West. In June 2022, West took to social media to accuse Adidas of copying the design of his popular Yeezy slides. He claimed that the Adilette 22 slides were a "fake Yeezy made by Adidas themselves."
This wasn't the first time that West had accused a brand of copying his designs, but the accusations against Adidas sparked a heated debate in the fashion industry. In August 2022, West took to Instagram to voice his frustration with the company, accusing them of several things, including creating Yeezy Day without his approval and hiring people who worked for him without his consent.
In September 2022, the situation escalated further when West claimed that Adidas had offered him a $1 billion buyout. He expressed his frustration with the company on social media, alleging that they released products without his approval and tried to change the colors of his shoes without his consent. These accusations sparked a heated discussion on social media and in the fashion industry, with many taking sides and expressing their opinions on the matter.
Despite these accusations, Adidas has continued to release new products and maintain its position as a leading sportswear company. However, the accusations made by West have raised questions about the company's business practices and sparked a conversation about the importance of protecting intellectual property in the fashion industry.
In conclusion, the accusations made against Adidas by Kanye West have sparked a heated debate in the fashion industry and raised questions about the company's business practices. While the situation has not been resolved, it highlights the importance of protecting intellectual property and the impact that such accusations can have on a brand's reputation.
Chapter 4: The End of a Partnership
In October 2022, JPMorgan cut ties with Kanye West and Yeezy, LLC. This decision was not related to West's recent controversies but was sent after an interview he gave in which he announced his intention to stop banking with JPMorgan. Adidas CFO Harm Ohlmeyer announced that Adidas plans to release more Yeezy's under its own branding, despite objections from Kanye West. The company has sole ownership of all design rights and intends to use them as early as 2023. On November 25, 2022, Adidas announced that it will begin an investigation into allegations of misconduct made against Kanye West, including verbal abuse, bullying, offensive remarks, and sexual harassment.
Chapter 5: The Yeezy Business and Trademarks
The partnership between Adidas and Kanye West, also known as Ye, was essentially a standard licensing deal where Ye licensed his trademarks and IP to Adidas for use on shoes and apparel. According to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, Adidas was responsible for the manufacturing and design of the products, which is why they hold the design patents for the Yeezy shoes.
In the first four years of the Adidas deal, the Yeezy business earned more than $500 million in total royalty payments and marketing fees. Ye received a 15% royalty on wholesale Yeezy products, according to Forbes in 2019, but he stated in a September interview with Bloomberg News that he wanted to renegotiate to a 20% lifetime agreement.
Filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office show that Ye's company, Mascotte Holdings Inc., has registered or applied to register 164 trademarks related to the Yeezy brand, including "Yeezy," "Donda," and "Yeezus." These trademarks cover a wide range of products, from shoes and sportswear to food and beverages, cosmetics, and even products in the metaverse.
Interestingly, Ye did obtain a design patent for the Yeezy Slide in 2020. In a since deleted Instagram post from June, he accused Adidas of creating knockoff Yeezy Slides.
This chapter highlights the significant financial success of the Yeezy business and the wide range of trademarks related to the brand. It also shows the importance of trademark protection in the fashion and apparel industry, as well as the potential for disagreements between partners over intellectual property rights.
The company's shares have fallen by more than 12% and wiped out approximately 3 billion euros in market value. This drop in shares follows the company's fourth profit warning in the past six months and an expectation of large losses in 2023. The biggest factor contributing to the losses is the messy split with musician Kanye West, which is expected to result in a loss of 1.2 billion euros in full-year sales and 500 million euros in operating profit. This loss is even greater than what the company had previously calculated. The new CEO, Bjorn Gulden, has been with the company for only six weeks and his immediate priority is to figure out how to sell the unsold inventory from the Yeezy line.
Chapter 6: The Legacy of Adidas
Adidas is a multinational corporation that has left a lasting impact on the world of sports and fashion. Despite its humble beginnings in post-World War II Germany, the company has grown to become one of the largest sportswear brands in the world. However, the company's history is not without its controversies and challenges.
One of the biggest controversies surrounding Adidas is its association with the Nazi party. The company was founded by members of the Nazi Party, and during World War II, its shoe factories were converted into Nazi munitions factories. This association with the Nazi regime has cast a shadow over the company's history, and Adidas has faced criticism for its role during the war.
However, Adidas also has a more positive legacy, having been responsible for outfitting legendary Black U.S. runner Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympic games held in Nazi Germany. Owens won four gold medals at the games, and his victory was a significant moment in the fight against racism and prejudice. Adidas's association with Owens is a testament to the company's commitment to equality and inclusiveness, and it remains a proud moment in the company's history.
Today, Adidas continues to face challenges, particularly in the Chinese market. Jing Ulrich, a representative from JPMorgan and a member of the supervisory board at Adidas, has noted that the property market remains a major risk to China's economic growth. Ulrich believes that the Chinese government will keep policy restrictions on the property sector tight to prevent potential instability in the market. Despite this, Adidas remains committed to its presence in the Chinese market and continues to grow and evolve as a company.
In conclusion, Adidas is a company with a rich and complicated history, marked by both triumphs and controversies. However, its legacy remains one of innovation, commitment to equality, and a deep love for sports and fashion. Whether facing challenges or celebrating victories, Adidas continues to be a major player in the world of sportswear, and its legacy will continue to influence and inspire for generations to come.
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