How Adidas Will Use Beyoncé, Kanye West and Pharrell to Make a Statement in 2020

Peter Verry

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Collaboration is a needle-mover, and Adidas is positioned to generate buzz next year with a robust lineup of product with key partners.

Today at the brand’s New York City showroom and office, Adidas North America president Zion Armstrong provided details to FN about the collections that are in the pipeline for 2020 — which includes its debut work with Beyoncé. (Adidas announced the partnership with Beyoncé and her Ivy Park brand in April.)

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“In terms of range, there are two collections. There is Beyoncé and Adidas and then there’s Ivy Park,” Armstrong explained to FN. “And this is not just athleisure product. We [will also] have performance product. She is a phenomenal creator athlete and is helping us push the envelope in performance product with materials and fit.”

Aside from the first lines with the beloved hitmaker, Armstrong confirmed new footwear styles with famed music producer Pharrell Williams are scheduled to hit retail, and more Yeezy looks from rapper-turned-designer Kanye West are slated to drop.

The executive also answered a question diehard Yeezy fans have consistently posed on social media: Where are the new models? Although there have been new styles released in 2019, including the Boost 380 in the “Alien” colorway and the Slide, much of what’s hit stores have been new iterations of shoes that have been on the market for quite some time, such as the Boost 350 V2 and the 700.

“Are we confident next year with the range of [Yeezy] products? Without a doubt,” Armstrong said. “You’re going to see more newness than you’ve ever seen before. You will see new silhouettes and you will see us making sure we continue to do that in a sustainable manner. There are multiple new silhouettes coming down the pipeline. There will be freshness and newness coming through at the right volumes.”

Although Armstrong has confidence in what’s to come with Adidas’ partners — including Yeezy — the brand isn’t far removed from the third quarter when footwear sales only grew 1%, down from the 8% growth the category experienced in the same period the year prior. After the earnings were revealed in early November, some analysts speculated that slowing Yeezy momentum could be partly responsible.

After the earnings call, Adidas CEO told investors that Yeezy did not grow — and wasn’t expected to. “Yeezy was not planned [to grow] and did not grow in the third quarter as it was competing against the biggest Yeezy released ever, which was executed in the prior quarter,” the executive said last month. (The largest product drop during Q3 2018 was the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 “Triple White” restock that hit stores on Sept. 21, which was the brand’s first attempt at mass distributing a West-designed shoe.)

Today, Armstrong stated there’s still plenty of heat around the West-led line.

“The most recent launch of the 350 sold out instantly, it sold out in a heartbeat — [in quantities] far bigger than three years ago,” Armstrong told FN. (The last 350 to launch was the “Black” colorway that dropped on Black Friday.)

Aside from partnerships, 2020 will feature other standout moments that Adidas will work to capitalize on. Armstrong said the rollout of the Superstar, which turns 50, will be a hit (“There are multiple stories that we will tell that connect with each athlete, artist, actor or actress that are powerful”) and will “leave a legacy behind” with other activations, starting with its yet-to-be-revealed sustainability-focused initiative surrounding the Super Bowl in February in Miami (“Just like we did at 747 [Warehouse Street], we left a legacy behind in L.A. around [NBA] All-Star Weekend, we’re going to leave a legacy behind to make sure we continue to improve the communities we interact with”).

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