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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Recently, Kanye West has called out iconic fashion companies Adidas, whom he’s worked with since 2013, and Gap whom he’s worked with since 2020, for excluding him from releases and meetings, canceling photo shoots, and their blatant ignorance to his impact when it comes to the success of their brands. Despite his current controversy, West’s influence on the fashion industry is undeniable. Are these brands taking advantage of West’s influence or is this just “business” ? 

Whether you like him or not, you cannot deny Kanye West’s impact on the fashion industry. He is a music icon turned fashion mogul and not many understand the weight of his influence. Even if the magnitude of his impact, when it comes to collaborations in music and fashion, isn’t understood, the respect given to him when it comes to these things should never be in question. Unfortunately, his creativity and contributions to the fashion industry have been taken for granted by famous brands like Adidas and Gap. Whom of which he’s collaborated with and brought great attention to since the beginning of his deals with both brands.  

Fashion is a significant part of Black culture. More specifically hip hop culture. As someone who’s made great contributions to both, Adidas and Gap have benefited dramatically from their deals with West. West has very clearly brought black culture and realism to these brands’ shelves. His ideas and creativity put these brands under a spotlight and created clouds of relevancy, media attention, and most importantly money.

Under different circumstances these brands would be due for some positive recognition for highlighting a culture that they’ve leeched off of for so long. However, their treatment of West has shown that big corporations do not care about the waves of culture they’ve been graced with but only the money it brings in.

For example, Adidas took the “initiative” to claim August 2nd and August 3rd as “Yeezy Day” unbeknownst to the Yeezy creator himself. It is not only disrespectful to claim a day for one of your best selling products without the knowledge of the creator but it is also disgusting to know that the creator is a black man they’ve already profited off of so much.

Additionally, Gap has also made its way into the artists Instagram rants. According to Kanye the brand canceled a photoshoot involving his children without his knowledge.

Why are these brands so comfortable writing off deals and making major decisions without someone they’re supposed to be working with? Simply because they don’t respect a black creative mind enough to grant it more than just what looks like a collaboration announcement in public but disrespect and inattention in private. Thankfully certain celebrities like Diddy and Swizz Beats have expressed their alliance with West. Diddy says in a caption: 

 “But we are more than just consumers now, we’re the owners. @KanyeWest and Yeezy are the reason Adidas is relevant to culture, WE KNOW OUR VALUE!” He also mentions the legendary hip hop group Run DMC as another example of Adidas profiting off “the culture”. 

Swizz beats also expressed his support for West by saying “YE is only asking for his work to be respected and not stolen that’s not crazy to me !!” It’s not only clear to the public but also clear to West’s peers.

If these very prominent men in hip-hop can call out a brand like Adidas for their blatant disrespect publicly and express their disappointment in the company, there’s only a matter of time until Adidas can no longer claim ignorance of their wrongdoings and the same goes for Gap. 

Black creativity and art are often stolen and profited off of. You do not have to like or agree with West to admit that his relevancy and influence is being used to his disadvantage. Hopefully these brands can claim their wrongdoings and give West the respect and flowers he deserves. 

Temple University 2025 Journalism Major Writer for the Fashion and Beauty section for Her Campus Temple IG: @wynterryvette