What about unsold Yeezy merchandise? Destroy, redraw, export

New York
CNN Company

Yeezy merchandise has no place.

Retailers are being dumped. Resellers are blocking listings of related products. Even off-price stores like TJ Maxx don’t want merchandise associated with hate speech Kanye West, the embattled rapper who has legally changed his name to Ye.

So where will the glut of Yeezy products – sneakers, sweaters, sweatpants, jackets, t-shirts, bags – go?

Industry analysts suggest three outcomes: it will be rebranded, exported for donation or sale on secondary markets, or destroyed.

In other words, Yeezy can go to the landfills.

It’s a huge fall from grace for a label that was once highly prized, especially with Yeezy-branded sneakers fetching thousands of dollars on the resale market.

“There really isn’t a good option for this serious brand that sits somewhere between prestige and luxury,” said Burt Flickinger, retail expert and managing director of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.

Adidas, Gap Inc. Foot Locker and The RealReal are a growing list of companies that have announced they will no longer sell Yeezy merchandise, with some pulling existing Yeezy merchandise from their stores and online channels this week after West made some anti-Semitic remarks. .

Morningstar analyst David Swartz said Gap will likely have to destroy or otherwise dispose of — perhaps through donations — unsold Yeezy merchandise.

“Gap has indicated that it will not sell the remaining items,” Swartz said. “Adidas will release some of the products that are already in the works under its name… and will probably end up destroying some of the merchandise. Adidas has stated that it will not pay any more royalties to Yeezy.”

Gap and Foot Locker declined to comment for this story.

Downloading the goods to the home discount channel will not work either. TJ Maxx, a major player in the discount space, stated that it will not be purchasing any Yeezy products to sell in its stores.

The prospects of dealing with unsold Yeezy gear are very challenging.

There is an environmental impact to the destruction or disposal of unsold goods. The production of clothes and other clothing comes at a high environmental cost due to greenhouse gas emissions, significant water use, water pollution and textile waste. Typical methods of destroying unwanted clothing—such as using incinerators—exacerbate the problem.

“The unfortunate reality is that a lot of disposable clothing is destroyed every year,” Swartz said.

GoTRG is a product returns management company that processes over 100 million distressed, unsold or returned products annually for manufacturers, online retailers and big box chains. And even in the secondary markets they are predicting a fall against the Yeezy brand.

“Companies like ours that operate secondary markets will be as reluctant to sell products associated with Ye’s brands as retailers are today,” said Sender Shamiss, CEO of goTRG. , recycling containers or landfills”.

Rebranding merchandise to camouflage controversy is another common industry tactic, experts say. It involves removing or somehow disguising the distressed brand logo.

Given that Yeezy products are so distinctive in their style and design, rebranding might not work, Flickinger said.

The most likely destination for unwanted Yeezy products could be foreign markets.

When it comes to problematic goods, it oversees countries where demand and product sustainability are more important than brand or fashion, it’s the laggard of the industry.

“Exporting seems to be the last and final best solution to the disappearance of Yeezy products,” Flickinger said.