Cartoonish Clump

Adidas appears to go big on foam. Their latest is quite a shoe to clomp in

It looks like a Lego shoe with the studs levelled and the sharp edges smoothed out. But Adidas’s latest is made of foam, not plastic; it’s, in fact, another adiFOM technological wonder. This time, the foam is not reimagined as the Adilette, but their all-season darling the Superstar. So the heel is encased. No clog here; a whole shoe. Nothing is hacked away. No perforation, or slots like the AdiFOM Q. This version of the Superstar mummifies the feet. The upper sits rather high up the tarsal, and the slip-on fits like a sock. On a hot day, you can imagine the heat that may be trapped in there.

Adidas clearly derives some excitement making footwear with a “one-piece body made of foam derived from sugarcane”. This material is also known by its trade name SweetFoam, which is, according to the brand, “the world’s first green EVA foam”. Foam for shoes does not easily lend itself to a slender silhouette. The AdiFOM Superstar is therefore quite the hulk it is. If you look at them from the top down, they could easily be a pair of palmate. Or, webbed feet! Even footwear is embracing inclusivity. How marvelous is that?

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Adidas AdiFOM Superstar, SGD109, is available at Leftfoot. Photo: Adidas

And Clogs They Shall Be

Add a toe box to the Adidas Adilette and voila… the AdiFOM

What more can you do to a pair of classic slides while still keeping the recognisable form, especially a pair that’s such a signature of the brand that even luxury brands want a slice of its success? Adidas has a clever idea for their widely copied Adilette slides. They add a toe box to it. As simple as that. And then you have the new AdiFOM Adilette, a pair of slip-ons that rides on the ongoing popularity of clogs, although Adidas calls them “slides”. Those unused to covered toes may find the AdiFOM strange, but these are rather sleek, in a minimalist way. Just the three stripes on the upper and no other brand symbols, externally. The AdiFOM Adilette should not be confused with the Adilette Clog, on which are the perforation a la Crocs. The latest sibling of the Adilette family, no doubt also a clog, is akin to bedroom slippers—not, we should say—in a bad way. The similar ease of use is unmistakable.

The AdiFOM Adilette slides, according to the brand, “are ready to take you into the metaverse” even if they are made for this world. Apparently, they are good for “exploring virtual reality or just kicking back poolside”. How that works, we won’t be able to explain convincingly. Adidas also adds that these “metaverse-ready” slide are “made with nature”. By that they mean the AdiFOM Adilette is constructed from sugar cane foam, also known by its trade name SweetFoam, touted as “the world’s first green EVA foam”. This is carbon negative bio-based EVA—made from sugarcane, a renewable crop, rather than the traditional petroleum-based material. Adidas states that the slides have a “minimum of 50% natural and renewable materials”. One small step to gain the confidence of environmental activists or those who are keenly aware.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Adidas AdiFOM Adilette, SGD79, is available at some Adidas stores and at Leftfoot, Mandarin Gallery. Product photo: Adidas. Illustration: Just So

Look At The Sole

The TakahiromiyashitaTheSoloist X Asics Chelsea boots are on the good side of cool

Sometimes you don’t have to do very much to a classic silhouette, such as the Chelsea boot. Japanese label TakahiromiyashitaTheSoloist has collaborated with fellow nihon no burano Asics for a pair of footwear that dates back to the Victorian era. This is all recognisably close-fitting and ankle-high, with the distinctive elastic side gusset. But the sole is very different. Rather that a union with the traditional low-stacked heel and hard-bottomed sole, this pair’s leather upper is cemented to the full-length GEL sole of the Asics GEL-Quantum 360 running shoes. The GEL sole is a technology that, according to Asics, “create better shock absorption underfoot”. Why a Chelsea boot that is now mostly worn to work needs such specialised cushioning for the feet is not explained, but the graphically jagged surface of the blacked-out sole does lend the otherwise sombre boot a slight subversive edge.

The Chelsea boot, interestingly, was thought to be first conceived for women. It is attributed to the work of Queen Victoria’s shoemaker, Joseph Sparks-Hall, who claimed that the monarch had worn the boots he designed daily, and was, hence, proof that the design held a special place in her heart (and shoe cabinet, probably). His boot came with practical elastic inserts to make the pulling on and off easier for the Queen. After Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanised rubber (treating the rubber to render it stronger and more flexible and springy) in the 1830s that led to the advent of elastics, the Chelsea boots (in equestrian sports, they’re known as paddock boot) now come with more elastic gusset that we’re familiar with to make slipping into a pair a lot easier, more than before. They became very much associated with the ’60s and, indeed, The Beatles, and the Chelsea boot is still not divorced from its mod past. Just the shoe for the holiday party season, especially this very cool pair.

TakahiromiyashitaTheSoloist X Asics Chelsea boots, SGD399, is available at Asics, Plaza Singapura. Photo: Asics

Dust Bag Meets Sneaker

This Margiela and Salomon collaboration is one strange and enticing hybrid

Sneakers, we know, are still conceived to elicit the reaction: “it’s ugly”. But ugly, as we have repeatedly noted, is being redefined, even now, as we write this. Ugly is no longer the ugly of your parents’ fashion-consuming years. Ugly can be a compliment, even admiration Apart from ugliness, sneakers are made bulky too, and often to let the feet look bagged. The MM6 Martin Margiela X Salomon Cross Low is one such sack of a shoe. Sure, there have been others, such as the Tom Sachs x NikeCraft Mars Yard Overshoe, but it is this Margiela X Salomon collaboration, in this colour combo that makes us think of a hybrid of gorpcore and dust bag (or laundry-bag). Shoes can, more and more, be pouches with soles.

Salomon has got themselves involved in rather fascinating fashion-forward collabs. Essentially an outdoor equipment maker, the born-in-Annecy, France label has been in partnership with one of the most cutting-edge brands, Comme des Garçons, with which they created a truly fetching pair of unisex Mary-Janes (unsurprisingly, these quickly sold out when launched last year), with trail-ready soles. Its partnership with the Margiela imprint MM6 is no less appetite-arousing. Although ostensibly a trail shoe, the Cross Low looks more like a high cut, with the added aesthetical heft of Margiela’s subversion bent. With the draw cords, you may gather the rip-stop upper-half into a small sack not unlike a gym bag, rendering it ready for inclement weather.

Underscoring the polyester bag-upper is a solid shoe with rubber soles, conceived for a rugged terrain. But in all likelihood, this Cross Low would be used on far much flatter, urban ground such as the city pavement. According to an MM6 statement, their “motivation was to create a shoe that could easily transition between cityscapes and the great outdoors — a single product that both maintained Salomon’s high-performance specifications and also resonated with MM6 Maison Margiela’s contemporary aesthetic”. As with the main line Maison Margiela’s pairing with Reebok—the Project 0 CL nylon tabi sneakers!—few will wear the Cross Low for sporting pursuits. There is too much fashion in it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

MM6 Martin Margiela X Salomon Cross Low, SGD590, is available at Club 21. Photo Salomon

Bobitecture Of Shoes

It’s hard to deny the influence of Yeezys

Givenchy TK-360+

They could pass off as something made of bread dough. That’s what came to mind when we saw the Givenchy TK-360+ sneakers up close. A leavened lump. An irregular loaf. A curvilinear paste. With scored pattern on top, no less. They look comfortable, but we are not sure we’re comfortable with how they look. Ugly footwear is, for sure, still a thing. With new footwear technology and design approaches, ugliness can be enhanced, rather than diminished. Sure, luxury brands are re-defining sleek, but they are also (still) augmenting unseemliness, especially in the form of the clunky. And, far-out. Yet, these shoes do not necessarily invite replusion. Unlike It bags, It shoes have to be somewhat odious, at least at the first encounter. But warming up to them does not take time. Aesthetically, they need to be, for the present, staggeringly anti-trim. Sneakers unlike clothes, cannot be worn oversized, so designers exaggerate the form and disfigure the already clumpy soles to allow the kicks to appear to house distended feet. The TK-360+ is keeping with this new tradition.

Givenchy isn’t the first to offer blobs for feet. That honour could go to the doomed Adidas Yeezy collaboration. Kanye West’s ideas for sneakers never truly made the feet look especially sleek and aerodynamic. Sure, Yeezy 350, which were almost synonymous with the Yeezy footwear line, was not quite clunky, but the Yeezy 500 from 2018 was, so too the 570. Other new styles that came later got progressively bulkier: the 700 V1, V2, and V3, the 700 QNTM (even the “OG”), and without doubt, the post-350 of the 380, culminating in the outright alien Foam Runner. The TK-360+ in its first version (released in May, with a style number minus the +) did bring to mind Adidas Yeezy Knit Runner from September last year, way before things turned awry for the partnership. The Adidas Yeezy and the Givenchy are all-knit slip-ons, with details in the mid-sole: one with a horizontal slit, the other a vertical groove. The Knit Runner was considered Mr West’s most “avant-garde” silhouette. Givenchy’s Matthew M Williams described the TK-360+ as his “dream shoe”. But, for some of us, not quite sweet.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Givenchy TK360+ sneakers, SGD1,450, are available in stores. Photo: Jim Sim

The Colour Of (Pulled) Milk Tea

Sneakers that come in shades of food are not unusual, but those in one of our fave beverages, the teh tarik, are rather

By Awang Sulung

Malaysia and our little island share many things in common, food wise. But I am not wadding into the nasi lemak debate. Jangan! Never! Rather, let’s dip into our shared love of milk tea, especially teh tarik (or pulled tea in Malay, even if it’s essentially a mamak brew) And, across the Causeway, they seem far more willing to pair their love of this beverage with their love of sneakers than we do, so much so that they managed to convince Asics to colour of one the Japanese brand’s most popular sneaks—the Gel-Lyte III—in the particular orange-y tint of the teh Malaysians love to drink with roti canai. I don’t think Asics has any pair that sports the green of matcha, but in Malaysia, they have theirs that could have really been dipped in milk tea.

And I must say they appear fetching, if not sedap. And, for sure, they look cukup lemak, with the suede-like upper really imparting the full-cream milkiness of the teh. There is, for contrast, even the Asics Tiger Stripes in a fuzzy fabric, which could be the characteristic foam of the beverage. The latest colour story of the Gel-Lyte III is really the quenching of the creative thirst of one of Malaysia’s leading streetwear retailers Hundred%. This is, in fact, a follow-up to 2019’s GEL-Kayano 5 OG that came in the shades of nasi lemak! A work of not just Hundred%, but also the Malaysian sneaker con and store, SneakerLAH. Frankly, that skim warna did not work for me, as I consider it a tad gawdy. But this time, the monochromatic choice of teh tarik is, I find, more appealing .

I’ve always been a fan of the Gel-Lyte III, with its distinctive forked-tongue, but not like those of reptiles. And this teh tarik version has added grassroots/kedai kopi pull for me. Unfortunately, it is only available in Kuala Lumpur, and in one physical location. If you have a friend in the capital to do you a favour, your problem could be solved, but I fear that by the time you read this post, this pair of Asics, launched tomorrow, would be sold out, which would really leave some of us quite haus.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Asics Gel-Lyte IIITeh Tarik’, RM699, is only available at Home Store, Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur. Photo: Asics

“Kicked Out”!

That was in the NBC News headline. Kanye West made an ”uninvited” visit to the Skechers HQ and was “escorted” out of the building. Is this a sign of out-of-control or desperation?

With Adidas out of the way, is Kanye West looking to co-brand his precious Yeezy again? Friends in the US (and a Malaysian reader too!) have been enthusiastically sending us reports all morning of Kanye West’s alleged trespass into the headquarters of the Southern Californian sneaker brand Skechers. The company later released a statement to say that the disgraced rapper “arrived unannounced and without invitation at one of Skechers’ corporate offices in Los Angeles”. According to CNBC News, Mr West was with other unidentified people. They were, according to Skechers, “engaged in unauthorized filming”. What they were filming is not known. “Two Skechers executives escorted him and his party from the building after a brief conversation”. There was no report of unfriendly exchange.

Skechers was also certain to say that it “is not considering and has no intention of working with West”. This is likely in anticipation of the speculation that Mr West is looking for a sneaker brand to replace Adidas. You know by now that he was dropped by the Three Stripes, after a considerable period of “review” (which turned many customers impatient, asking for a boycott of Adidas), for comments considered “anti-Semitic and hateful”. Skechers, too, showed that they are willing to censure what he has repeatedly said. “We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech.” There clearly would not be Skechers Yeezy!

Mr West has already been called out and dropped by three fashion brands. There are not many corporations he could really turn to now, if they are not the likes of Parler. While his clothing line can possibly wait, his sneakers cannot. With Adidas, they have created what is considered one of the most successful shoe partnerships in modern footwear history, making him a billionaire—he no longer is, as Forbes was quick to declare after the Adidas split with him. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the rapper would need to find another company to continue the Yeezy drops. He has previously announced: “I need a shoe company like how Jaimie Salter bought Reebok. Or I’ll take over some shoe factories.” Was what happened at the Skechers compound an incursion?

Mr West being turned away by Skechers would augment the brand’s corporate standing and show that they are willing to do what’s right, and swiftly. One PR professional told us, “It is PR value that costs Skechers nothing.” The shoe label known for their memory foam technology currently has Korean actor Pak Seo Jun as their regional ambassador (for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Macau). Cedrick Tan, Skechers SVP, told Marketing Interactive last year that “with the shorter and fragmented attention span of consumers today, it is important that a brand ambassador, besides having a positive, well-liked image, is a role model who is multi-dimensional, driven, and inspiring”. They would not find that person in Kanye West.

Which brand will he go acalling next? LA Gear?

File photos: Chin Boh Kay for SOTD

Persuasive Pastels

Some light colours just beckon. New Balance knows it

The thing about colours for sneakers is that neither-vivid-nor-pristine tones don’t score massively among hypebeasts. It’s usually either all-white or all-black, or an amalgamation of staggering brights. With the release of New Balance’s newest collab in the form of the 993 silhouette, the chromatic story is a little different, and a little surprising, especially when we’re entering what is the fall season or, for many here, the ghoulish festival of black and orange—Halloween. NB has paired with the Chicago designer Joe Freshgoods and the result is rather pale. The two brands call the colors—a blue and a green (the pink will launch later)—“pastel”. We like and feature here the blue, which comes with the strangely soft “vintage rose”. Don’t get us wrong, this pair of Made in USA kicks is as handsome and virile as they come.

First released in 2008, the Boston brand’s 993 is a mashup of the 991 and 992 styles that arrived earlier. And it still looks like the runner of its time, even with the new colours, unlike the neo-vintagey XC-72—“the past could only imagine the future” as NB touts it. As hyperbolic as it sounds, the sum of the mesh and suede upper is described as “Performance Art”, and the characterisation even appears on the underside of the cover of the shoe box. Truth be told, we have not taken this 993 through the requisite paces, but we have no doubt it will perform, whether for running or for running errands. And it seems that the colours are aimed at those with a fashionable bent, not just street-style aficionados. Or, the more gender-neutral inclined. We keep thinking they would go with something from Fendi.

Joe “Freshgoods” Robinson (who also goes by the abbreviation JFG) draws from his home city to put out merchandise that has been said to reflect his home culture. Some call him “poet of merch, king of collab”. He describes himself on his webpage: “I’m crazy. I’m all over the place. I randomly collab with friends. I release clothes when I feel like it. I have no structure.” Might this also mean the “unmanageable” that another Black bro/designer described himself not too long ago? This is Mr Robinson’s fourth collaboration with NB. But his work isn’t restricted to footwear. Back in April, New Balance appointed him as the brand’s creative director for the ”Conversations Among Us” campaign.

Despite his alleged craziness and randomness, Mr Robinson did not go quite wild with his makeover of the 993. It is, to us, even subtler than Junya Watanabe’s pairing with NB through the 573 ‘legacy’. But there is something undeniably sweet about the colour choice. And in the still pro-bombastic sneaker world, something this understated, looking like a real athletic shoe, does stand out. New Balance, of course, isn’t averse to more eye-catching collabs. Just look at the 574 with Miu Miu or the latest just-as-torn-looking 2002R Protection Pack by the new creative director Teddy Santis. But a silhouette that looks trim and slowly moving out of the dad sphere may be what many of us need for our next rotation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New Balance X Joe Freshgoods Made in USA 993, SGD329, Is available at DSMS from today, or at the New Balance web store. Photo: New Balance

Two Of A Kind: Mud Landing

In two cities, it’s fashionable to frolic in the muck

Mud in Paris versus mud in Singapore. Photos (left): Balenciaga and (right): TikTok

Whose mud is better; whose is muddier? And whose can really muck up? Balenciaga has shown at the recent Paris Fashion Week that, when it comes to fashion show grounds, bog is better than pile. For their spring/summer 2013 presentation, held at the Parc des Expositions, the French couture house created a runway that was not carpeted, but muddied. Yes, earth of the very wet kind. We, too, had our own runway last weekend, during the comeback F1 Night Race, at the parc de City Hall, aka the Padang. It was near-identical, the mud, but we did not have to create the guck. It was there all along, compacted soil waiting for a downpour and excited F1 attendees to whip it up into a deliciously sticky and slimy mess.

According to The New York Times, 275 cubic metres of mud was dumped onto the Balenciaga show venue. But this was no ordinary mud; this was black dirt “harvested from a French peat bog”. Definitely more atas than the common earth on our historic Padang, all 43,000 sqm of it. And Balenciaga had the Spanish artist Santiago Sierra dump and “arrange” the guck there. The only artist we had was good ’ol Mother Nature and her showers. And to make sure their sodden runway smelled right, Balenciaga had a scent specially concocted—dubbed by NYT as “eau de peat”. It was sprayed into the air of the site. Seriously. A perfume to intensify the fragrance of wet soil. Very high-end, indeed. All we had was Mother N’s own bau—geosmin and, consequently, petrichor—and they didn’t have to be spritzed to odorise the Padang.

Balenciaga is known to show their collections outside Paris, even in unlikely places such as the New York Stock Exchange. They are, therefore, not opposed to decamping to foreign soil. If they had asked, we’re sure the Singapore Tourism Board would be happy to arrange for them to have a field day at the Padang, and allow their expensive sneakers and silk gowns trudge through our free and foul mud. According to the show notes, the Balenciaga Paris set was a “metaphor for digging for truth and being down to earth”. We do not for certain if they can do that here, but we are quite sure that the Lion City is as good a venue as the City of Lights to muddy a fashion show.

Hip Hop Flip Flop

Has Kanye West copied us?

By Awang Sulung

With so many Yeezys to choose from, not to mention all the prototypes that did not go to production, Kanye West turned up for the Burberry show in London, wearing slippers that looked like the pair my makcik Aisha owns. She said she was “attracted to the ‘berlians’ (diamond)” and I believed her; my aunt is quite a magpie, you see. But Mr West has better resources than my aunt; and he is supposed to be a fashion icon. Well, maybe that is it. Fashion heavyweights can wear anything. Is Mr West reflecting some zeitgeist? Or is he, in sharing my aunt’s love for bedazzled flip flops, reflecting popular taste? I’d have thought that he’d want to promote his Yeezy slides if open-toe footwear is a must. Or are they too plain, too “pure”?

Mr West is, of course, known to wear things that do not correspond with the seasons or to “dress like winter when it’s hot”, as he professed on Instagram early this month, which justifies his layers of bulky puffers and heavy-guage hoodies in the middle of summer. Try wearing those here! Was he deliberately doing the opposite of Kim Kardashian? AccuWeather told me that it was about 10°C in London when he arrived for the Burberry show. He was bungkus-ed in a hoodie, again, and a button-down leather shirt and matching pants. The get-up I suspect was by Burberry. The extra sleeves, attached to the side seams and tied to the front, informed me so—they looked like those that appeared on the runway. Formidable Kanye West has to wear pieces from the season to come, not the present, definitely not before.

This footwear choice is well planned and thought out. Like his clothes, they previewed what Burberry would later show. And he was given a pair of black tabi socks so that the first two toes would better grip the also-black thongs, which are topped with a single row of clear, sparkly, squarish stones. They look like pasar malam crowns for feet. Mr West’s slippers are, of course, a notch above those we like to wear, even if he appeared to be inspired by the footwear of our nation. But the sparkles may proof a tad too terang (bright) for flip flop die-hards such as environmentalist Ho Xiang Tian. As much as the blink seemed to be saying something to curious onlookers (I have no idea what), it preferred to draw no comment. Mr West later shared a Yeezy-Gap-ish photograph of said footwear on Instagram, it was accompanied by “DON’T TALK TO ME”.

It is not at all hard to see this as a publicity stunt. The grumpy rapper/designer has been really geram (angry/disgruntled) this month, bleating about perceived improper practices against him by his business collaborators. I wonder if what he wore down there on his feet was just distraction from the problems he’s facing. For the moment, people would be talking about those slippers. His position as the incomparable superstar of fashion is strengthened, just like his ex-wife’s when she appeared bare-butt on the cover Interview. Frankly, I am not buying it.

Photos: Getty Images

Ready For Ripped

Not really. It is harder to wear tattered shoes than torn jeans

The tattered version of the Converse Chuck 70

By Ray Zhang

I own only a pair of carefully tattered—but not knee-baring or buttocks-exposing—jeans, and I think I have only worn it once. It’s now somewhere inside a box of unworn clothes asking to be in favour again, but they are more forgotten than loved. I have never taken a shine to anything torn except, maybe, frayed hems. So it amuses me to no end when social media went mad with the news that Balenciaga released a pair of practically damaged shoes. I only saw the photographs, but they look ridiculous to me. The kicks in that condition are saleable? No retailer would accept returns of shoes in that state, but Balenciaga would sell them like that? I remember when Maison Margiela made available in 2017 a pair of battered sneakers for US$1,425, I told myself that the world has gone quite berserk. But at least those shoes—broken-down version of the brand’s ‘Future’ high-tops—were not dirty. Soiled shoes, I learned on SOTD, are trending—that also escapes me.

The “destroyed” Balenciaga shoes look to me like Converse kicks worn at a construction site on a rainy day. And I have really seen them in that condition, unaided by Balenciaga’s very capable China factory, but I have never been seduced by them. I own only one pair of Converse in my entire life. It was the Chuck Taylor conceived in collaboration with Junya Watanabe that came in Madras check of rather bright yellow (unfortunately the soles crumbled and I couldn’t wear them anymore). Pristine, uncoloured Converse canvas shoes do not appeal to me. People have frequently said to me that Converse shoes look better when worn out and soiled. I don’t know about soiled, but I am willing to try a little worn out. I have tried ugly, how bad can mildly ragged be? When, at The Foot Locker, recently I spotted a pair of Converse Chuck 70 High that was quite torn on the heel and collar (and on sale!), I was oddly drawn to it. I tried them on, and my friends who were with me said: “They really look good on you.” Really? I bought them despite the very certain fear that with them on my feet, I might look like I do not have money to buy proper shoes that are in tact, even if that could be true.

A fellow torn Converse wearer. Photo: Ray Zhang

While I refuse to buy into Balenciaga’s wrecked aesthetics because I am unable to entertain the brand laughing at all the idiots who could be so easily duped into this possible high-end scam, I thought I might give sneakers that are not violently ripped a try just to see how I’d feel in them. After I put on my new torn Converse, my mother caught sight of them. She said somewhat sternly, “if you have no money to buy shoes, let me know.” Why did she not say that earlier? Not long after I stepped out in my new torn kicks, I saw a buffed-up fellow in a scuffed-up pair of the same Converse I had on. Were there so many sold that I would meet someone identically togged on the very first that I put the sneakers through their paces? But, his looked worse than mine, and were as beaten-up as he was worse for wear. He did not appear to adopt the shoes to be on trend. With nondescript T-shirt and ‘berms’, he looked like your regular heartlander. I was suddenly relieved; I would not, I thought, look like an unfortunate victim.

In the MRT train, I noticed that many commuters wore white sneakers, but none of them were torn, not even a tiny nick could be seen on any. On my feet could be a fashion statement, but it did not make me feel particularly fashionable. As classic kicks go, few are as adored as the Converse, especially in school-shoe white. And perhaps therein lies the deep doubt for me. There is something not quite grown-up happening on my feet. Perhaps I need to wait till my Chuck 70s are really threadbare. I realised as I stared at them in the train car that there is, in fact, a hidden blue layer beneath. It is possible that when the upper is decorticated, what’s below will be revealed and it will be whole. Tatty, I reminded myself, is not better than tidy.

The Converse Chuck 70 High (torn), now SGD79, is available in stores. Photo (top) Jim Sim

Disgruntled Once More

Kanye West is peeved again. And, he has attacked another business partner, anew. Unrequited love?

Nike must be so thankful that their pairing with Kanye West ended when it did. They must be reading with such relief the news of Mr West’s online berating of his current footwear production partner Adidas. The rap star asserted that the German company has been designing Yeezy products without his involvement. On Instagram two days ago, Mr West boomed: “”The fact (Adidas) felt they could color my shoes and name them without my approval is really wild. I really care about building something that changes the world and something I can leave to my kids. They tried to buy me out for 1 billion dollars. My royalties next year are 500 million dollars alone.”

A buyout! Has it really come to this? Was Mr West surprised that Adidas, producing Yeezy since 2013, is considering ending their partnership? That they had enough of his egomania? The Sunday denunciation was, of course, not his first levelled at the manufacturer of his Yeezys. In fact, since last Friday, his fingers have been hard at work, generating posts that suggested Adidas had done him great wrong, to the point that he threatened to “legally finish with you”, directing that at the brand’s top brass, in particular the senior vice-president Daniel Cherry III (who has not offered a public response).

…his fingers have been hard at work, generating posts that suggested Adidas had done him great wrong, to the point that he threatened to “legally finish with you”

To make things more complicated, the executive board of JP Morgan Chase was also dragged into the one-sided quarrel, with the angry rapper uploading screen shots of the bankers. JP Morgan Chase assisted Adidas in finding a buyer for Reebok in 2021. And on Monday, Mr West posted: “I need a shoe company like how Jamie Salter bought Reebok”. Mr Salter is the CEO of Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the company that acquired Reebok from Adidas. It is curious that ABG was mentioned. Was Mr West hoping Reebok would be the next Yeezy collaborator?

His palpable rage, of course, goes further back—to June, when he accused Adidas of copying his Yeezy slides after the former teased the release of their Adilette 22. And then came “Yeezy Day” in August—some pseudo-important occasion that Mr West called “made up” and claimed he did not agree to, nor the Yeezy sneakers that Adidas was allegedly going to drop. It is not clear why he did not take his displeasure or misgivings directly to Adidas instead of publicly declaiming, “I have no chill. It’s going to cost you billions to keep me, It’s going to cost you billions to let me go, Adidas.“

This is, of course, not surprising. Even Gap was attacked. A week ago, as he had a go at Adidas, he concurrently accused the other half of Yeezy Gap of conducting a meeting without him. He added that they had copied his designs (the ones “Engineered by Balenciaga”). Can a pattern of behaviour be discerned? Not hard. For Mr West, lines are not drawn, not demarcated. Professional and private lives have no borders. Everyone is fair game. Even people close to him—or once were—were not spared. He attacked his ex-wife on more than one occasion (who strangely did not seem too upset by it) and her (now) ex-boyfriend with not a vestige of regret. Does he care how he may appear to his children?

But it was Adidas that he seems to spurn most. In his latest IG fume-post, he even clarified that “billions” mean “2” if Adidas wants to free him from his obligations to them, and that includes the alleged “stealing” of his intellectual property. This and others were no blank rants, even, if in many cases, he would delete them. They have been effectual among his friends, with Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs just announcing on IG that, in support for his mate, he was “done wearing Adidas” after a Ye-like blast: “’Since the era of Run-DMC, @Adidas has always used Hip Hop to build its brand and make billions off of our culture. BUT WE ARE MORE THAN JUST CONSUMERS NOW, WE’RE THE OWNERS. @KanyeWest and YEEZY are the reason Adidas is relevant to culture. WE KNOW OUR VALUE!”

Anger begets anger. And love for the Yeezy brand?

Illustrations: Just So