While everyone is still talking about Kanye making naked wax models of celebrities, Adidas is doubling down on its partnership with the artist, clearly enjoying the sales success and pop cultural cache he's brought to the brand since first teaming with Adidas Originals two years ago. Today the two announced the launch of adidas + KANYE WEST, a significant expansion of their collaboration beyond streetwear and into both retail and sports.
In a statement, the brand called it "the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand." A dedicated Adidas team will lead the development and creation of all Yeezy products with West. The expansion plan includes retail stores that the brand says will serve as distinct hubs for product development, which will now go beyond lifestyle to give people Kanye options for both sports and street.
"These past two years adidas and Yeezy have given a glimpse into our future," said West, in a statement. "This partnership illustrates that anyone with a dream can dream without limitations."
Adidas CMO Eric Liedtke said in the same press release that Kanye is a true creator who has the ability to see things others don't. "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."
Last year, sales for the Adidas Originals lifestyle business in which the Yeezy collection is a part, were up 45% in the fourth quarter, while North American revenue for the brand overall saw a 12% ... uh, boost.
Kanye is far from the brand's only non-athlete partner, with Pharrell, Rita Ora, and Kendrick Lamar (working with Adidas-owned Reebok) part of its roster as well. But this new move into sports and retail will be a true test of both Yeezy's design chops and overall cultural influence.
When contacted, the brand wouldn't reveal any exact dates for store openings or product launches under the new expanded partnership.