- Bjorn Gulden speaks out on the Ye-Adidas split.
- Unsold Yeezy goods to fund anti-racism and antisemitism campaigns.
- The unpredictability of celebrity collaborations acknowledged by Adidas's chief.
Adidas's top dog, Bjorn Gulden, has jumped into the conversation surrounding the artist once known as Kanye West. Gulden believes that perhaps Ye, as Kanye now prefers, might not have intended the offensive remarks that became a flashpoint in their high-profile partnership. This controversy took a toll, causing Adidas to sever its ties with Ye in October 2022, especially after the rapper's questionable tweets, which stirred a lot of negative emotions.
While speaking on the 'In Good Company' podcast, Gulden reflected on the impact this drama had on the brand. The episode, which aired on September 13, featured the CEO's belief that Ye might have spoken without thinking through the consequences. He mentioned, “Though it might have seemed bad, I genuinely believe Ye is not a malicious individual.” Gulden also gave a nod to Ye's unmatched creativity in both the music realm and what many would describe as "street culture."
However, Adidas remained tight-lipped when Reuters tried to get their view on the podcast's discussions. Bjorn Gulden isn't new to the sportswear industry; he was once steering the ship at Puma before joining Adidas in 2022. His entry was primarily to give a new direction to the brand after such controversies.
In a move to turn things around, Gulden, in May, revealed plans for the unsold Yeezy merchandise. The brand decided to put them up for sale and promised to direct a portion of the earnings to groups fighting racism and antisemitism. Thanks to the Yeezy line, Adidas managed to soften the financial blow the controversy could have dealt.
Towards the end of his podcast conversation, Gulden highlighted the unpredictability of collaborating with big names. He mentioned, “It's a tricky business, working with celebs. These things can happen. It’s all part of the industry's dynamic.”
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