Kanye and Pharrell May Be Changing The Face Of Adidas

Karl Fowlkes
Current law student and aspiring Entrepreneur who is inspired by sub-culture. "Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real" - Tupac Shakur

According to Sara Germano of the Wall Street Journal, Adidas Originals category sales grew by 29% in the 1st quarter, led by Pharrell Williams’ Superstars and Yeezy Boosts by Kanye West. In the first quarter of 2014, Originals rose 3%.

While the sports sector of Adidas might be in trouble, their impact on lifestyle only continues to grow. With celebrity names like Pharrell and Kanye pushing the envelope for the brand, there are high expectations for sales to grow in the coming years.

Adidas needs to develop a similar blueprint when attacking basketball. They continue to sign top basketball players such as Andrew Wiggins, the number 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but they need to drop the current silhouette they have been using for those such as Derrick Rose, and instead use Pharrell or Kanye West to develop a shoe for a player of Wiggins’ pedigree.

Two things will happen. One – the design would be illustrious because those are premier fashion minds and this has never been done before. Two – the shoe would fly off the racks and create its own identity within the culture.

It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask Yohji Yamamoto to design the shoe. Yamamoto is the front man behind Adidas Y-3, a luxury, urban-wear wrecking ball that continues to build its reputation on the streets of New York, London, Tokyo and Paris as the premier, creative brand on the market.

While the idea has yet to come to life, one thing is for sure – with Y-3, Kanye and Pharell pushing Adidas Originals, the brand can no longer be looked at as “un-cool.” In fact, as long as Y-3, Kanye and Pharrell are in charge, Adidas has a very good chance at reigning supreme in the industry.

The competition in the sports and outerwear market is pretty fierce, with Nike currently holding the number 1 spot. Despite their dwindling market share in the industry, Adidas will not be renewing their contract with the NBA from earlier this year that expires in 2017. According to the Wall Street Journal, Adidas would like to focus on youth basketball and other projects instead.

Their CEO, Herbert Hainer, will also be leaving in 2017, so Adidas needs to start looking for a replacement who will be able to increase sales in the slumping domestic market.

Regarding their US sales, their approach has been to focus on establishing themselves as a soccer brand. Worldwide, this may be a smart strategy, but for the United States, it may have an adverse effect. While soccer is gaining popularity in the US, it still doesn’t hold a solid fan base (excluding the World Cup, which always builds excitement).

Regardless, moving forward Adidas will need to find an approach that sets them apart from their competitors. It seems that they are making some smart moves now, however it may be best to proceed taking small steps instead of giant leaps.

All in all, I’m definitely on board with the new Adidas. What do you guys think about the direction the brand is headed?

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