Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, found himself the pariah of the global fashion industry as leading maison Balenciaga terminated all existing agreements with him following a slew of anti-Semitic statements issued by the celebrity on social media.
Kering, Balenciaga’s parent company, released a statement on October 21st stating that they have ended the working relationship with West and have shelved all future initiatives involving him.
Previously, West collaborated with the maison on the Yeezy line that was to be distributed through leading fashion retailer Gap. However, this deal fell through as West accused Gap of breaching the contract.
A Bad Ending
Industry watchers feel that this is an ignominious end to what was perceived to be a thriving partnership between the rapper and the maison.
West has claimed to have close ties with Demna Gvasalia, the current head of Balenciaga, and actually walked in one of the maison’s catwalk shows during Paris Fashion Week. His ex-wife, social media star Kim Kardashian, has frequently worn couture from the maison and was featured in several of its more recent campaigns.
Gvasalia was also one of the attendees at West’s controversial fashion show for his own label Yeezy, wherein he debuted the White Lives Matter shirts that raised hackles among the public.
Courting Controversy = Consequences
Since the start of this month, West has rubbed many people the wrong way with his repeated anti-Semitic remarks and off-tangent tirades in both media interviews and his social media channels. The latter resulted in his accounts on Twitter and Instagram getting suspended indefinitely following a slew of questionable, even hate-mongering, remarks. However, the rapper may shift his sights to the far-right platform Parler, which he is rumored to be set on buying.
Ari Emanuel, CEO of talent agency WME, likewise called upon streaming media platforms Spotify and Apple Music to remove West’s material from their rosters. Emanuel also asked sportswear brand Adidas to drop their collaboration with West, stating that anyone who continues doing business with the rapper is giving him an audience upon which to broadcast his misguided hate.
Consequently, Adidas terminated its relationship with West on Tuesday, October 25th. While it expects to lose around $246 million in income this quarter because of the termination, an inflammatory statement from West wherein he claimed, “I am Adidas,” prompted the immediate halt on the production of Yeezy-branded products. Related payments to West have also been stopped.