Late last year, rapper and fashion designer Kanye West — whose legal name is now Ye — went on an anti-Semetic rant, which included remarks downplaying the Holocaust and praise for Adolf Hitler.
Soon after, sportswear brand Adidas dropped Ye’s line of footwear from all storefronts, digital or otherwise. Now, months later, a decision regarding the shoes has still not been made, and the company has yet to signal what fate lies ahead for the millions of dollars worth of shoes inside its warehouses.
According to the Associated Press, Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden said in an earnings call that selling the Yeezy shoes would mean Adidas would be forced to pay royalties to Ye. According to the AP, Gulden added that re-stitching the shoes to remove Yeezy branding “is not very honest, so it’s not an option.”
Furthermore, sending the shoes to a landfill would also present what Gulden called “sustainability issues,” which references the fact that fashion and footwear are among the most common items found in landfills. On average, 300 million pairs of shoes are tossed into the garbage each year, a staggering number that represents an unnecessary fate for otherwise perfectly wearable footwear.
However, there may be another, better solution for the Yeezys — donating them.
While Gulden has pointed out that the shoes’ high resale value could complicate this potential decision, the company has not explicitly denied this as a potential solution. Still, the AP reported that some possible targets for the donated shoes — suggestions that included the victims of recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey — were turned down for this reason.
“[The shoes would] come back again very quickly [in value],” Gulden said. “So that’s not really an option.”
Meanwhile, CNN reports that there have been over 500 potential buyers who have offered to purchase the entire Yeezy stock. But thus far, Adidas has held strong in its decision to avoid profiting from the shoes.
Beyond that, it’s currently unclear what Adidas will do with the massive stock of shoes. With any luck, the immense financial loss will not translate into a wasted opportunity to send perfectly good (if somewhat infamous) sneakers to needy feet — instead of the landfill.
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