Ye appears to have softened his approach to dealing with Adidas and Gap. Following a weekend on Instagram where he repeatedly expressed a wish to exit his Adidas contract early, he let it be known he will stay through the end of his contracts, but would then cease to partner with another company.
“It’s time for me to go it alone,” he said in a phone interview with a Bloomberg reporter. “It’s fine. I made the companies money. The companies made me money. We created ideas that will change apparel forever. Like the [Gap] round jacket, the [Adidas] foam runner, the slides that have changed the shoe industry. Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”
Describing Adidas and Gap as akin to the parent of an ex he has no choice but to co-parent with, Ye added, “They my new baby mamas. I guess we’re just going to have to co-parent those 350s.”
Ye’s contract with Adidas ends in 2026 and his agreement with Gap runs through 2030. As Ye explained in a since-deleted Instagram post that was expanded on by Sole Retriever, he owns the Yeezy name but the shoe silhouettes are owned by Adidas. According to patents filed with the U.S. Patent Office, the shoes were designed by Nic Galway, senior vice president of global design at adidas or Aurelian Longo, design director of Adidas Y-3 footwear. The Yeezy slide is the one shoe that’s owned by Ye’s company Mascotte Holdings, Inc.
In the exchange with Bloomberg, Ye reiterated the corrosive nature of Adidas copying Yeezy silhouettes. “No one should be held in that position where people can steal from them and say we’re just paying you to shut up. That destroys innovation. That destroys creativity. That’s what destroyed Nikola Tesla.”
In addition to producing his own shoes, Ye plans to open campuses nationwide, which will house shopping centers, schools, farms and dorms. Dubbed Donda, a tribute to his mother Donda West, the campus stores will sell Yeezy product designed by the brand’s design team.
Prior to opening the campuses, Ye said he wants to open his own YZYSPLY stores. At the moment, he’s working closely with former Adidas executive Eric Liedtke, who now runs the independent plant-based clothing operation Unless Collective.