Adidas Wednesday announced it is expanding its relationship with hip-hop star and fashion designer Kanye West with a co-branded effort dubbed “adidas + KANYE WEST” that the company calls “a Yeezy branded entity creating footwear, apparel and accessories for all genders across street and sport.” An Adidas spokeswoman speaking to Reuters declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal and how long it may last.
Part of the deal includes new co-branded stores, a collaboration with the artist based at Adidas' Portland headquarters, and the introduction of more athletic, "performance-intended" designs.
Adidas lured West away from a previous collaboration with Nike in 2013, helping him launch his Yeezy Season 1 fashion line and collaborating with West on his popular Yeezy Boost 750 shoe.
Kanye West, through lyrics on a song called “Facts,” insisted last year: “Tell Adidas that we need a million in production. I done told y’all all I needed was the infrastructure.”
Adidas—which has caught the attention of fashionistas with a series of street-focused and retro designs that increasingly seem like a threat to Nike and Under Armour—has apparently responded to that call. The German sportswear maker describes the deal as "the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand."
Adidas has been struggling since its fall to number three among the sportswear powerhouses, with Under Armour in particular moving aggressively, especially in basketball footwear. But it has seen success in the American market in the first quarter this year, reporting a 31% increase in North American sales thanks to the popularity of the Yeezy designs and Superstar shoes, promoted by singer Pharrell Williams.
Adidas appears to be on to something with its more multi-faceted approach to its shoes and apparel, emphasizing both performance and design, with less focus on athletic stars. According to Reuters, West jumped from Nike to Adidas because the company gave him more creative control and royalties. The singer told the Wall Street Journal that he hopes to expand Yeezy products beyond streetwear, looking at partnerships with NBA and NFL players.
“Kanye is a true creator who has the ability to see things others don't. We are excited and honored to build on this partnership, and eagerly look forward to defining the future together,” Eric Liedtke, adidas board member responsible for global brands, said in a statement.