Award-winning rapper and fashion designer Kanye West said he plans to cut ties between his Yeezy clothing brand and Adidas because of the company’s ties to China.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC on Thursday, West, who now uses his legal name Ye, discussed his decision to terminate his partnership, claiming the brand excluded West from the development process and unfairly copied his ideas.
West went on to blast Adidas for their ties to Chinese manufacturing, stating that he wants to manufacture his products in America. Chinese shoe factories have been accused of exploiting their workforce with poor working conditions and low pay.
“This is the day of liberation right here,” West stated. “This is the day to not be just valued on my cash flow, to be valued on the equity that we bring. You know, we’ve seen the influence that we’ve had on two Fortune 500 companies. Also a lot of stuff they [Adidas] have commitments to China, and [we] wanted to do localized manufacturing, which is completely possible with some of the factories that I’m buying here in California, we can actually bring industry back to America.”
“I feel that in a lot of ways, Europe has been the head of prestige, with the luxury brands and luxury vehicles, and China has been the head of manufacturing,” He continued. “But America, we invented rock and roll, we are the most inventive. We are the youngest startup ever, America itself, so, you know, we invented Apple, we invented Ford, and now we have Yeezy here.”
West also slammed both Adidas and clothing retailer Gap for their alleged underhanded business dealings that cut him from the development process.
“They were doing colorways, they were naming things, they were sending guys in, telling me, ‘Don’t tell your audience you didn’t name that,’” West blasted Adidas. “They were slowing down my allotments and then copying the ideas that — some things took us two years.”
“[They] priced my stuff at like $200 and above their whole price point normally, and then did the exact [same] shirt for $20,” West said of Gap. “In the contract, they said they were going to do stores and they just ignored us about building stores ... sometimes I would talk to the leaders and it was like I was on mute or something. … Everyone knows I’m the leader, I’m the king, right. So a king can’t live in someone else’s castle. A king has to make his own castle.”