Kanye West: What's next for Yeezy and trainer fans?

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YeImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Kanye West, now known as Ye, is best known for hits such as Gold Digger and Stronger

Kanye West's Yeezy collaboration with Adidas has been one of the most successful in the brand's history.

But that's now over, as the clothing giant has dropped the rapper - known as Ye - over anti-Semitic comments.

Cutting the partnership means Adidas will make a net loss of £217m in 2022, with many other brands also ending their relationships with him.

For fans of the fashion and music, and the wider sneaker world, the big question is what comes next?

"I was a fan of him," James Drury tells BBC Newsbeat. "He is a genius in the fashion industry and in the music industry."

But the 28-year-old is no longer a fan and says he can't stand by Ye after anti-Semitic comments.

"It does feel like he's almost attention seeking to stay relevant," he says. "And he's just a little bit too far out there with me now.

"There's certain things that you just can't agree with."

'A separate brand'

James, from Shropshire, has been collecting Yeezys since 2016, when he first got into the range.

"It was more so the rarity," he says. "Seeing images of various celebrities wearing them, it instantly pulls you in."

But when it comes to being a Yeezy collector, he will continue despite Ye's comments.

"I almost see Yeezy as a brand separately from Kanye West. Obviously, he controls much of it, but for some reason I see Yeezy as separate. So I will continue with it."

Image source, James Drury
Image caption,
James has been collecting shoes since 2016

James says he's not in it for the money though.

"I'm personally not in it for selling them, I collect because of the rarity rather than the money," he says.

"I have huge stories behind [certain shoes that I've got]."

Emily Atkins from The Sole Supplier, a specialist trainer website, labels it "the biggest story in the sneaker world".

And while cutting the partnership has cost Adidas money, Emily is interested to see the wider impact.

"We've been seeing that people have rebelled and boycotted Adidas because of Kanye's comments," the shoe expert says. "And I think his influence is on the whole brand."

Emily, 25, says Adidas can recover from the backlash, and they can learn a big lesson on not putting "so much reliance on one influencer for their campaigns".

"I think he started damaging his reputation a long while ago."

But she recognises the need to keep in mind Ye's mention of his mental health, as he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Image source, Emily
Image caption,
Emily feels Ye's departure from Nike didn't have a big impact, so the same might be possible for Adidas

She adds there are other options for Adidas going forward, too.

"It's dangerous for any brand to rely so heavily on one influencer to drive such a huge portion of their sales," she says.

"But on the other hand, they do have other products, some very iconic silhouettes which have always been around pre-Kanye."

The future for Ye?

As for Ye, he's lost his position in Forbes magazine's list of billionaires. It estimates that the loss of the Adidas partnership cuts Ye's net worth from $1.5bn to $400m (£1.3bn to £349m).

In the world of fashion, Emily feels the rapper no longer has "the positive inputs he had all those years ago".

"It'll be interesting to see his next move. And which brands are brave enough to take him under their wing."

As for his music, James says while he's not yet at the stage where he'll be pressing skip on his tunes, but "it's getting very close".

"I do think a lot of people will turn off his music now, will skip him and put [his comments] before the music."

Additional reporting by Polly Bayfield

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