‘We Can Actually Bring Industry Back To America’: Kanye West Says Chinese Manufacturing Was Partially Behind Decision To Cut Ties With Adidas
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: (AFP OUT) Rapper Kanye West speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval office of the White House on October 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Oliver Contreras – Pool/Getty Images

Kanye West said he plans on terminating the deal between his Yeezy clothing brand and shoemaker Adidas, in part over the company’s ties to China.

In an interview with CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Thursday, West, who also goes by the moniker Ye, discussed his decision to terminate his partnership with the shoe brand over complaints that Adidas left him out of the development process and unfairly copied his ideas. The rapper and fashion designer also blasted Adidas for their ties to Chinese manufacturing, and said that he wants to manufacture his products in America.

“This is the day of liberation right here,” West said. “This is the day to not be just valued on my cash flow, to be valued on the equity that we bring. You know, we’ve seen the influence that we’ve had on two Fortune 500 companies. Also a lot of stuff they [Adidas] have commitments to China, and [we] wanted to do localized manufacturing, which is completely possible with some of the factories that I’m buying here in California, we can actually bring industry back to America.”

“I feel that in a lot of ways, Europe has been the head of prestige, with the luxury brands and luxury vehicles, and China has been the head of manufacturing,” Ye added.But America, we invented rock and roll, we are the most inventive. We are the youngest startup ever, America itself, so, you know, we invented Apple, we invented Ford, and now we have Yeezy here.”

West has taken much more of an interest in manufacturing his apparel in the U.S. recently. His Yeezy Foam Runner, released earlier this year, is made of natural materials and is the first Yeezy shoe to be made in the United States.

Ye also expressed support for Texas-based San Antonio Shoemakers on Instagram in early September. In now-deleted Instagram posts, West complained about Adidas allegedly re-releasing old shoes, coloring and naming them without his permission, and stealing his designs, the local news outlet KENS 5 reported. West then posted screenshots of the SAS logo and Wikipedia page with the caption, “:),” prompting speculation that he may want to work with the San Antonio-based brand, which manufactures the overwhelming majority of its shoes at factories in San Antonio and Del Rio, Texas.

Elsewhere in the interview, West blasted both Adidas and clothing retailer Gap for alleged underhanded business dealing that cut him out of the development process. They were doing color ways, they were naming things, they were sending guys in, telling me, ‘Don’t tell your audience you didn’t name that,’” West said of Adidas.They were slowing down my allotments and then copying the ideas that — some things took us two years.”

“[They] priced my stuff at like $200 and above their whole price point normally, and then did the exact [same] shirt for $20,” he said of Gap. “In the contract, they said they were going to do stores and they just ignored us about building stores ... sometimes I would talk to the leaders and it was like I was on mute or something. … Everyone knows I’m the leader, I’m the king, right. So a king can’t live in someone else’s castle. A king has to make his own castle.”

In addition to wanting to sever ties with Adidas, earlier this week, West also said he plans on terminating his partnership with Gap.

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