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Image source: theguardian.com / sneakernews.com
Image source: theguardian.com / sneakernews.com

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Kanye West accused Adidas of copying of his Yeezy slides design

Rapper Kanye West made a surprise return to Instagram to accuse Adidas of ripping off his Yeezy slides design.

The Adillette slides, which Adidas first introduced in May on social media, are similar to Kanye West's Yeezy slides from 2019, which also had a slip-on design, and were made of natural and renewable materials.

To express his displeasure, the 45-year-old rapper wrote a lengthy post, which was later deleted.

He hinted at a possible break-up with the brand, similar to what the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant did in 2002 when he bought himself out of his contract with Adidas six years before it was due to expire and inked a deal with Nike instead.

Referring to Adidas’ new Adilette 22 slides, Kanye wrote: “These shoes represent the disrespect that people in power have to the talent. This shoe is a fake Yeezy made by Adidas themselves,” and urged the CEO Kasper Rorsted to “come and talk” to him.

Kanye has collaborated with Adidas since December 2013. Their first collection, released in February 2015 – Yeezy Boosts – sold out in just ten minutes.

The rapper has designed shoes for brands such as Bape, Louis Vuitton, Giuseppe Zanotti, and Nike. His five-year collaboration with Nike ended in 2013 after the brand refused to pay him royalties for his shoe designs, instead offering to pay some of the proceeds to a charity of his choice.

In his partnership with Adidas, West not only gets royalties but retains 100% ownership of the brand while having full creative control over the products released. In 2020, sales for the sneakers brought in nearly US$1.7 billion, netting the brand US$191 million in royalties.

This isn’t the first time Kanye is accusing a brand of stealing his designs. In June 2021, he sued Walmart for “flagrantly trading off” his brand of Yeezy footwear. The rapper alleged that Walmart traded off his “popularity”, as well as that of his footwear brand, Yeezy. He argued that an apparent copy of his Yeezy Foam Runner trainer had confused consumers with a US$35 imitation found on Walmart’s website.

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