Kanye West is suing Walmart for selling ‘virtually indistinguishable’ knockoffs of his foam Yeezy shoes

kanye west
Kanye West speaks on stage at the “Kanye West and Steven Smith in Conversation with Mark Wilson” at the on November 07, 2019 in New York City.

  • Kanye West sued Walmart on Thursday for selling a lookalike of his Yeezy Foam Runner shoe.
  • The Yeezy shoes initially sold for $75, but Walmart’s similar version from a third party sold for around $20 to $30.
  • The lawsuit comes just months after Walmart and West feuded over a new Yeezy logo.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Kanye West sued Walmart on Thursday, accusing the retail giant of selling knockoff versions of his Yeezy Foam Runners.

The billionaire’s lawsuit alleges that Walmart has been profiting off his name by selling foam sliders that look “virtually indistinguishable” from his Yeezy Foam Runners. West is suing to have the shoes removed from Walmart’s site, as well as for monetary damages. The suit said the Yeezy brand is worth ‘billions’ of dollars and the company believes it has suffered damages in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Yeezy foam runners

When West’s slip-on foam sneakers were introduced in 2019 for $75, they garnered some ridicule, with some people comparing the shoes to Crocs on social media. Nonetheless, the shoes quickly sold out and have since been resold for up to three times there original price, while the Walmart shoes were selling for around $20 to $30, according to documents filed in a Los Angeles court.

The lawsuit said that West has built the Yeezy brand off of his success as an American icon and Walmart is profiting off his image, pointing to celebrities, including his former wife Kim Kardashian and other public figures like Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg, who have been photographed wearing Yeezy shoes.

The Yeezy brand said in the suit that the shoes caught its attention when posts on numerous social-media sites started taking off by advertising that people could buy the shoes, that some users called “budget Yeezys,” on Walmart’s website. The lawsuit argues that the Walmart shoes would not have sold if they had not been recognized as similar to Yeezys.

The Yeezy brand initially reached out to Walmart on Wednesday to pull the shoes from their online marketplace, but said as of its court filing date on Thursday that Walmart had failed to pull the product.

A Walmart spokesperson told Insider the company is actively reviewing the claim. An Adidas spokesperson declined to comment.

“The product referenced in the complaint is not sold by Walmart, but rather by third-party Marketplace sellers,” the Walmart spokesperson said.

As of Friday, Insider was unable to find the foam runners on Walmart’s website that were pictured in the lawsuit, as well as the initial TMZ report. The shoes were be sold by third-party sellers, including sellers listed as Daeful and LUXUR. The lawsuit said Yeezy had identified up to 10 sellers on the site, but had not been able to ascertain their identity. Insider has attempted to reach out to Daeful, and was unable to find contact information for LUXOR.

West said the “subpar” Walmart shoes have not only cut into Yeezy’s market share, but have also impacted the brand’s reputation, pointing to reviews on the site that say the imitations shoes are “garbage” and “ripped after 20 minutes.”

Thursday’s suit comes a few months after a dispute between West and Walmart over a logo that the rapper wants to use for Yeezy. Walmart said it had reached out to the Adidas brand five times over concerns that Yeezy’s new logo was too similar to Walmart’s own logo and would “create a false affiliation” between the two brands that could damage Walmart’s “goodwill.”

At the time, a Yeezy representative did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, but people close to West have said it is unlikely that Yeezy would try to affiliate the brand with Walmart’s image.

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SNEAKER RESELLING SIDE HUSTLE: Your guide to making thousands flipping hyped pairs of Dunks, Jordans, and Yeezys

kickzmalik sneaker reseller
Gautam Malik is just one entrepreneur making thousands of dollars by reselling sneakers.

With the sneaker resale market continuing to thrive, Insider is covering all aspects of how to properly scale a business in the booming industry. From which sneakers to purchase to necessary technological investments, made in the form of bots that entrepreneurs entrust to nab pairs online, the following covers everything you need to know about how to break into the market that Cowen & Co. estimates could reach $30 billion globally by 2030.

Getting started

Sneaker reselling is based on a simple concept that guides many other businesses: buy low, sell high. You’ll want to figure out how to track expenses and figure out net profit on each pair sold. One entrepreneur who made over $125,000 in sales since January 2019 showed us his spreadsheet that he uses for tracking profits. You’ll also want to figure out your strategy. While some people might prefer to invest in a few pairs and wait for them to grow in value, others utilize a high-volume sneaker resale strategy to make money by moving product quickly at slimmer margins. Others focus on acquiring rarer pairs that can fetch thousands at auction. Some have even developed mathematical formulas to determine the best way to buy and sell. Lastly, it can be helpful to take a look at some up-and-coming sneaker resale websites to learn about new ways to make money in the industry.

Read more: A 16-year-old who made $125,000 in sneaker sales reveals his pro tips for young resellers looking to break into the multi-billion dollar industry

A sneakerhead who made nearly $7 million in sales last year reveals his secrets to tapping into the exploding multibillion-dollar resale market

The top sneaker seller on eBay who made $1.5 million in sales in 2019 reveals how he grew business to dominate the platform

We got a look at exact spreadsheet a 16-year-old uses to make thousands of dollars in sales as a major sneaker supplier to stores and boutiques

5 up-and-coming sneaker websites that resellers and collectors should use in 2020 to boost profit and nab hyped pairs

A sneaker reseller whose store has made millions in sales since 2018 shares the mathematical formula he uses to determine which pairs will skyrocket in value

Scaling your business

Once you nail down the basics, here are some tools to guide you on the next steps of growing your business. While many sneaker resellers can start from humble beginnings, it can take just a few months to hit sustainable profit margins. Attending sneaker events like Sneaker Con is a great way to build connections and make fast sales. But as your business grows, it is important to keep track of all of your sales and expenses to ensure that you file your taxes correctly each year.

Read more: Here are 5 steps that independent sneaker resellers live by to pay their taxes every season

How a formerly homeless sneakerhead with just $40 to his name built a multi-million dollar resale empire in 6 years

A sneakerhead who has attended more than 20 Sneaker Cons reveals his top 6 secrets for making the most money at a resale event

3 sneakerhead sisters could fetch over $1 million by selling thousands of their classic Nike, Adidas, and Reebok shoes through an exclusive eBay auction

Sneaker botting

In the sneaker resale world, a “bot” refers to a software application that expedites the online checkout process and helps resellers nab hyped pairs online – including limited-edition drops. Though a controversial aspect of the sneaker world, bots are often essential for purchasing the latest releases at retail prices. In many cases, these bots are built by former sneakerheads and self-taught developers who make a killing from their useful product. Bots, like sneakers, can resell for hundreds of dollars. There are even some bots that are meant to help users nab sneaker bots at retail. While sneaker-nabbing bots can give resellers a leg-up, they are often the cause of much distress on the side of footwear companies who are looking to mitigate the problem.

Read more: A sneaker reseller who uses multiple ‘bots’ to nab mass quantities of expensive shoes the moment they drop explains why the controversial tech is worth it

Inside the controversial underworld of sneaker ‘bots,’ where coded scripts resell for thousands of dollars and Twitter monitors can make or break a release

A 16-year-old’s sneaker bot business charged $200,000 in fees since October. Here’s how his 600-member group secures the coveted software before anyone else.

How a self-taught developer with no formal training made $700,000 in sales this year from his sneaker bot, Splashforce, that nabs hyped pairs in just milliseconds

As sneaker bots explode, a veteran reseller and YouTuber with over 160,000 subscribers reveals 3 steps to profiting from the lucrative tech

In the arms race between teenage sneaker bot users and footwear companies, one side is winning – and it’s not the billion-dollar companies

Cook groups and online services:

While they normally charge hefty membership fees, cook groups are exclusive forums that supply information for anyone looking to break into the multi-billion dollar market. They usually offer members access to botting services in addition to exclusive details related to drops. We got a look inside a couple of these groups, including Polar Chefs, a thriving cook group with over 400 members that was started by a teenager who employs 23 people to help him run the group. Cook groups are often run on Discord, a messaging platform that has become a hotbed for sneakerhead activity.

Read more: Exclusive sneaker resale groups make millions by paying insiders to leak information on valuable sneaker releases before they happen. Here’s a look inside one of these members-only forums.

Inside a teen’s exclusive sneaker cook group that makes him 6-figures in sales, employs 23 people full-time, and nabs pairs of the hottest sneakers on the market

How Discord went from gaming and alt-right hub to a sneaker cook group hotbed, where resellers charge fees to share their secrets for cracking the $2 billion resale market

A college dropout runs a multi-million dollar sneaker cook group, AMNotify, with thousands of members across the world. Here’s how he launched one of the first exclusive sneaker forums from a hospital bed in 2017.

Navigating the industry during the pandemic

While slowdowns in shipping and supply chains caused some problems for the sneaker industry early on in the pandemic, the value of certain pairs, like the Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1, has remained strong. Experts say that some pairs, like the Nike SB Dunk Low Travis Scotts or the Jordan 5 Retro High Off-Whites, will likely skyrocket in value after the pandemic. The CEOs of GOAT, Stadium Goods, and Bump all predicted that the sneaker resale market will continue to grow, and the proof is in the businesses. One teen entrepreneur that we spoke to said his business soared during the pandemic, bringing in close to $500,000 in sales during quarantine.

Read more: The CEOs of GOAT, Stadium Goods, and BUMP outlined the best ways for sneaker resellers to navigate the multi-billion dollar market in the pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak is wrecking the sneaker resale industry, but investing in specific pairs can soften losses. Here’s how to navigate the market in crisis, according to the head of China’s Sneaker Con.

These are the sneakers most likely to skyrocket in value when the coronavirus panic dies down, according to the founder of the largest sneaker event in the world

A 17-year-old entrepreneur made close to $500,000 in sales reselling sneakers during quarantine. Take a look inside his pandemic-proof business model.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kanye West was spotted wearing the new Gap Yeezy jacket and Nike shoes – but he still has 5 years left on his partnership with Adidas

Kanye West at 2008 Grammy awards
Kanye West at 2008 Grammy awards

  • Kanye West stepped out wearing Nike shoes and his newly-announced Gap x Yeezy jacket last week.
  • West has a partnership with Adidas, which controls the site his Yeezy shoes are sold on, per Bloomberg.
  • Some social media users speculated he could be signalling an end to his Adidas deal by wearing Nike.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Kanye West wore Nike shoes when he stepped out in the newly announced first product of his Gap and Yeezy collaboration.

West, who founded the apparel brand Yeezy, was spotted out on June 3 wearing Nike shoes and a bright blue puffy coat. A week after the photos were taken, Gap announced the $200 coat would be the first product created in collaboration with Yeezy.

West and Adidas announced the two would partner in 2013, in a deal reportedly worth $10 million at the time. Bloomberg reported Yeezy has a valuation of $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion, per investment bank UBS, due to the lucrative partnerships with Gap and Adidas. The partnership with Adidas, Bloomberg notes, runs through 2026.

Social media users pointed out the Nike shoes, and speculated whether he was in breach of the Adidas contract or announcing an end to the partnership.

West has ownership over the Yeezy brand, but Adidas operates the website his shoes are sold on. Yeezy x Adidas sneaker sales amounted to $1.7 billion in 2020, according to Bloomberg, netting West with $191 million in royalties.

West’s first sneaker, the $245 limited-edition Air Yeezy, was released in collaboration with Nike in 2009. The shoe later sold on the resale market for thousands of dollars, and a prototype of the shoe with a value of more than $1 million could become the priciest sneakers ever sold.

Some analysts and insiders consider Yeezy one of the most influential sneaker brands ever, reportedly inspiring the now-popular shoe brand Allbirds, Insider’s Mary Hanbury reported.

Nike, Adidas, and a representative for Kanye West did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Verizon sells its media business

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for May 4. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

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Kasper Rørsted

Adidas is requiring some ad agencies to pay back more than 10% of their earnings, squeezing small firms

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A startup promised influencers the Hollywood dream, replete with a mansion. But some insiders say its CEO bullied talent, made misogynistic comments, and treated their personal lives like ‘a game.’

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Take a look at Adidas’ new running shoes that can be customized with Legos

adidas_Ultraboost_DNA_x_LEGO(r)_Plates_Shoes_White_FY7690_011_hover_standard
  • Adidas’ new running shoes can be fitted with Lego bricks on either side of the shoe.
  • The Ultraboost DNA x Lego shoes come with different plates that can be swapped out.
  • The $200 shoes became available for purchase on Thursday morning.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Adidas revealed its newest shoes that can be customized with Lego blocks on Wednesday.

The Ultraboost DNA shoes, which went on sale Thursday, look like regular Adidas running shoes, but with a Lego twist: they feature plastic strips on the side that can be used to hold Lego plates.

The $200 shoes have three strips on each side and each strip can fit three two-by-two Lego plates.

The running shoes come with a selection of Legos for the shoe, but can also be swapped out for other bricks. They also have a tongue with a Lego design on it, as well as grooves on the toe of the shoe and on the inside of the shoe that emulate the ridges on Lego pieces.

Adidas has been working with Lego on products for quite some time. In October, the two companies announced a multi-year brand partnership.

The new shoe design is Adidas’ latest effort to compete with other brands like Nike. In February, Nike released its first hands-free sneaker for $120.

Read the original article on Business Insider

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang

H&M Shanghai
People walk by a H&M store on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street in Shanghai, China

  • Chinese consumers are boycotting international brands including H&M and Nike.
  • The boycotted brands pledged not to use cotton from the Xinjiang region in China.
  • Earlier this week, the US and other Western countries sanctioned China over forced labor.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

At least 11 brands are facing boycotts in China over pledges not to use cotton from the Xinjiang region, which is reportedly produced with forced labor.

On Monday the US, EU, Canada, and UK placed sanctions on China for “repressive practices against Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.” Following the sanctions, past statements on human rights violations in Xinjiang from retailers including H&M and Nike surfaced on the social media platform Weibo, with users pledging to boycott H&M and other brands that signed a pledge to stop using Xinjiang cotton.

Read more: While Big Retail took a hit, some local boutiques have benefited from offering ‘retail therapy’ to customers eager to invest in quality items

Insider reached out to each of the brands, and have included statements from those who were immediately available to comment.

Here are the affected brands so far.

H&M

H&M
The H&M clothing store in Times Square in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 15, 2019.

Swedish brand H&M said in a statement that it would no longer use cotton from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and ended its relationship with a yarn company in the region. In the statement, the retailer said it was “deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor.”

H&M’s statement was circulated on Chinese social media platform Weibo. H&M products were removed from shopping sites including Alibaba and JD.com, and Baidu Maps removed geolocations of the retailer. Social media posts showed that at least 50 H&M stores were closed across China over fears of protests.

Nike

Nike Beijing
Customers lined up outside the Nike flagship store on the opening day at Wangfujing Street on January 20, 2021 in Beijing, China.

Nike released its own statement about using cotton from the region, saying “We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.”

People posted videos of burning Air Jordans and Air Force 1s on Weibo in protest. Chinese actor Wang Yibo ended his contract with Nike as a result of the statement.

Adidas

Adidas store

Adidas also stated that it would not use cotton from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Three big stars, Yang Mi, Jackson Yee, and Dilraba Dilmurat, all severed relationships with Adidas as a result, Vice reported.

Converse

converse all stars
Converse shoes.

Celebrities Zhang Yixing, Ouyang Nana, and Bai Jingting ended relationships with Converse over the pledge, The South China Morning Post reported.

Burberry

GettyImages 1229771391
Burberry flagship store in Bond Street London with British flags.

The People’s Daily, which is controlled by China’s Communist party, named Burberry as a company that would not use Xinjiang cotton.

Calvin Klein

calvin klein store
A Calvin Klein store in Mexico City in May 2017.

Chinese celebrity Zhang Yixing stopped promoting Calvin Klein over the pledge.

Under Armour

under armour

Under Armour’s statement echoed many other brands, saying “Under Armour is deeply concerned by credible reports of forced labor and other abuses in, and outside, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).” The athleticwear brand is on the list of brands to boycott.

Tommy Hilfiger

preppy clothing tommy hilfiger

Celebrities have said they will stop promoting clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger over Xinjiang cotton, Vice reported.

New Balance

New Balance military
n this photo taken Wednesday, July 1, 2015, the New Balance proposed 950v2 sneaker, that has passed military testing, is displayed at one of company’s manufacturing facilities in Boston.

The People’s Daily also named New Balance as a company that would not use Xinjiang cotton.

Gap

Gap
People pass by the GAP clothing retail store in Manhattan.

Gap made a statement stating that “We can confirm that we do not source any garments from Xinjiang,” and that the company has “strict policies against the use of involuntary labor.” As a result, Gap was added to the list of brands to boycott on Weibo.

Zara

zara store

Zara’s website had a statement online that called reports of forced labor in Xinjiang “highly concerning,” which has since been removed. Zara was added to the Weibo list of brands to boycott.

Read the original article on Business Insider