PARIS — Adidas and Kanye West are taking it to the next level.
The German sporting goods giant and the musician said they were launching Adidas + Kanye West, “a Yeezy-branded entity creating footwear, apparel and accessories for all genders across street and sport.”
Under the new partnership, the West-designed Yeezy products for Adidas Originals, which have been selling out within hours of release, are to extend beyond the current lifestyle focus to include performance, thus “offering options for both sport and street,” the Herzogenaurach-based company noted on Wednesday.
Adidas called the new alliance unprecedented and referred to it as “the most significant partnership ever created between a nonathlete and an athletic brand.”
No timeline has been set for the launch of the first performance items from the extended collaboration, but Adidas said it plans to give them its own retail units, which are to “serve as distinct hubs for Adidas- and West-developed Yeezy products.”
The sporting goods maker and the artist started partnering in late 2013, when West switched from Nike to Adidas in a wide-ranging deal that eventually produced Yeezy Season 1. Presented in February 2015, the apparel and footwear collection drew, if not unanimous praise, respectful approval and by far the starriest front row seen throughout New York fashion week, including Beyoncé, Jay Z and Rihanna.
The Yeezy Boost 350, meanwhile, which combines Adidas’ Boost and Primeknit technologies with West’s singular aesthetic, scooped the Footwear News “Shoe of the Year” award 2015.
“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,” said Eric Liedtke, Adidas group executive board member, responsible for global brands. “With Adidas + Kanye West we are exploring new territories by opening up the sports world to Kanye’s creativity. This is what Adidas has always been about, empowering creators to create the new,” he added.
West noted: “These past two years, Adidas and Yeezy have given a glimpse into our future. This partnership illustrates that anyone with a dream can dream without limitations.”
The new business unit will be run out of the company’s U.S. headquarters in Portland and overseen by West along with a separate Adidas team.