Kanye West and Adidas just announced they are turning their Yeezy collaboration into a full-fledged partnership.
The deal, which Adidas is calling “the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand”, will result in the creation of a new business unit inside of Adidas – akin to how Nike handles the Michael Jordan brand.
The new unit will be responsible for working with Kanye to create new lines of shoes, clothes and accessories for both street and sport wear.This is a huge expansion beyond the duo’s current offerings, the Yeezy 350 and 750. These are sets of limited edition sneakers that retail for a few hundred dollars but still fetch upwards of $1,000 on the secondary market.
These high prices are driven by fan’s insatiable desire for the product, something that doesn’t mesh well with Adidas’ current policy of limited-edition Yeezy releases. A full product line of shoes, apparel and accessories could mean that some of this scarcity is coming to an end.
After all, even though the shoes were selling for thousands on secondary markets, Adidas and Kanye only received the retail price of $200 or $350, and even that was only for a small number of pairs. With this new partnership, Adidas and Kanye may finally be ready to reap the rewards of their labor.
Interestingly, Adidas also said that as part of the new partnership they will be opening dedicated retail stores to serve as “distinct hubs for Adidas and Kanye’s products”. While it’s too early to see exactly what these stores will look like, the fact that the partnership will result in new stores might mean that the product line will be expansive enough to support a dedicated store.
So as technologists, why do we care about Kanye’s new deal?
Because living in 2016 means that fashion, music, pop culture and technology have essentially become one. We care just as much about what streaming platform an album debuts on as we care about the album itself. Businesses are building apps for the sole purpose of supporting the secondary market of sneakers and street wear. And, technology platforms like Twitter and Facebook are redefining how celebrities and fans interact.