Kanye West is looking to secure a trademark for opening retail stores. The “Good Life” rapper wants to create another avenue of commerce for Ye-branded merchandise.
The Chicago native and his legal team recently filed to trademark “YZYSPLY” for brick and mortar and online stores. Ye is intent on making his brand a one-stop. A number of categories that he plans to launch include outerwear, sleepwear, swimwear, accessories and sportswear. The store will likely carry his flagship collection of Yeezy Boosts. The sneakers, created in a joint collaboration with Adidas, reached nearly $1.7 billion in revenue in 2020, netting Ye about $191 million in royalties.
Drama with Adidas
Although he has a relationship with Adidas that goes back to 2013, and produced the successful Yeezy sneaker brand, the hip-hop mogul has been at odds with the sports apparel giant. In June, he called out Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted, for “blatant copying of Yeezy Designs.” According to Ye, the Adidas Adilette 22 sandals “represent the disrespect that people in power have to the talent,” Billboard reported.
Ye complained that the company’s $55 Adilette 22 sandals released in May bear too close of a resemblance to his $70 Yeezy Slides, which also are produced by Adidas. Ye posted a photo of both shoes on Instagram and wrote: “To Kasper I’m not standing for this blatant copying no more,” he wrote. “To all sneaker culture To every ball player rapper or even if you work at the store This is for everyone who wants to express themselves but feel they can’t cause they’ll loose their contract or be called crazy.”
He added, “These shoes represent the disrespect that people in power have to the talent. This shoe is a fake Yeezy made by adidas themselves I’m not talking to DC about this either Kasper come talk to me Happy Monday.”
Ye’s Money-Making Fashion Knack
West ventured into the apparel industry in 2015, and since has landed clothing and footwear deals; his net worth reportedly is $6.6 billion. Now the musician is on track with pursuing additional high fashion collaborations with Gap Inc. and the luxury brands Balenciaga.
According to a Wells Fargo analysis published in 2021, West’s 10-year partnership with Gap clothing could bring in nearly $1 billion by the end of this year alone.
“Now that this catalyst is here, the majority of questions we are fielding regarding Gap is around how powerful this partnership with Yeezy could be — which is why we thought it would be helpful to put numbers behind the initiative,” Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow wrote in a note to clients.
The Foam Vechicle & Donda Industrial Design
Needless to say, Ye has made his love for fashion known and is focused on expanding his empire. The artist turned fashion guru recently appointed footwear design veteran Steven Smith as the head of Donda industrial design. The two have worked together at the impetus of the Yeezy footwear brand. As the executive designer behind the Yeezy 700 that sold out in minutes across the country, Smith is focused on expanding West’s portfolio into other sectors, including home goods and even vehicles. A concept of the Donda Foam vehicle reportedly is already in the works.
Smith, who has an extensive career working with several sneaker brands such as Nike, Reebok and New Balance, told Complex in a statement that he was “honored” to work with Kanye “to create our shared vision of the future,” he said.
There’s no telling what the appointment of Smith will mean for West’s relationship with Adidas that seems to be on the rocks after Ye publicly accused the German brand last month of ripping off his Yeezy designs.
West’s deal with Adidas reportedly is set to expire in 2026.