Ye Wants to Cut Out the Middleman

Fashion
After months of public tension with Adidas and Gap, the artist formerly known as Kanye West says he’s ready “to go it alone.”

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Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, has always wanted to do big things. And, so far at least, his achieving that has meant working with some of the biggest companies on Earth.

But in recent months Ye has been particularly critical of the inner workings of those partnerships in recent months. He’s put Adidas, Gap, and their C-suites on blast on his social media platforms, accusing them of copying his designs for their general product lines and of barring him from executive board power. And in a story published Monday, Ye told Bloomberg’s Kim Bhasin that he’s had enough.

“It’s time for me to go it alone,” he told the publication in a phone interview. “It’s fine. I made the companies money. The companies made me money. We created ideas that will change apparel forever. Like the round jacket, the foam runner, the slides that have changed the shoe industry. Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”

As Bloomberg points out, Ye’s footwear deal with Adidas AG, whose blockbuster footwear opened up the celebrity apparel landscape into the stratosphere, doesn’t expire until 2026. His 10-year agreement with Gap Inc., which has produced successful hoodies, jackets, and a recent capsule engineered by Balenciaga, the French fashion house owned by the LVMH luxury conglomerate and helmed by Ye’s friend Demna, will end in 2030. And until then?

“They my new baby mamas,” he said. “I guess we’re just going to have to co-parent those 350s.”

In the meantime, he’s got other plans: Ye would like to focus on his expanding Donda enterprises, for which he hopes to build facilities that will accommodate schools, farms, stores, and dormitories.

“This is not celebrity marketing, this is not a collaboration, this is a life mission,” Ye said in a video monologue he posted to Instagram earlier this month. For now, at least, it’s one he’ll continue pursuing via corporate partnership.

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