Bjørn Gulden was recently asked about the company’s dissolving relationship with Kanye West on Norwegian podcast In Good Company.
He started by praising West’s creativity and ability to shift culture musically and in fashion.
“I think Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world. Both in music and what I call street culture,” Gulden said.
“Both in music and what I call street culture. So he’s extremely creative and has, together with Adi, created a Yeezy line that was very successful. And then, as creative people, he did some statements, which wasn’t that good. And that caused Adi to break the contract and withdraw the product.”
Gulden explains that the tragedy in the situation is that he doesn’t believe West truly believed the anti-semitic remarks he made in 2022, which included saying that he was going to “death con 3 on Jewish people.” His social media accounts were suspended before he could hatefully expound.
“Very unfortunate, because I don’t think he meant what he said, and I don’t think he’s a bad person. It just came across that way… That meant we lost that business. One of the most successful collabs in history – very sad. But again, when you work with third parties, that could happen. It’s part of the game. That can happen with an athlete, it can happen with an entertainer. It’s part of the business.”
Gulden’s right that the ending of the Yeezy brand as we know it presented a huge loss to adidas bottom line. The Financial Times reports that orders for 4 million pairs of Yeezys in August netted the company $565 million. The company reportedly has a total of $1.3 billion of Yeezy goods to sell off before officially parting ways with West.
“What we are trying to do now over time is to sell parts of this inventory and donate money to the organizations that are helping us and that were also hurt by Kanye’s statements,” Gulden said, according to CNN. “Burning the goods would not be a solution,” Gulden added.
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