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Why Jerry Lorenzo Left Nike For Adidas

The age-old battle of the titans in sportswear and streetwear between Nike and Adidas has been a topic of discussion for decades. Both megabrands have struggled for a monopoly on culture in various sectors of the industry, most notably in their battle for the signature of athletes to exclusively promote their footwear and clothing. As time has gone on, both brands have realised their access to mainstream culture, therefore expanding the war zone to the world of superstar designers. From Kanye West to yohji yamamoto, Matthew Williams, and of course Jerry Lorenzo, founder and creative director of Fear Of God.

Jerry Lorenzo is a highly influential figure in the world of fashion. From shaping youth culture with his designs for artists such as Justin Beiber and Kanye West to founding his own label Fear Of God, which has been a staple in casual luxury wear since 2012. Along with his passion for his very own brand, highly influenced by his religious beliefs, Jerry Lorenzo has been a huge fan of the Nike brand since he was a youth. Lorenzo finally accomplished a life long dream of collaborating with Nike in 2018 with his own sneaker and line. Upon the announcement, Lorenzo stated, “It is a shoe that should only be judged by the emotion it gives the kid when he first sees it — however it makes him feel,”. The 'Nike Air Fear Of God 1' a Nike shoe of his own silhouette, which is another huge accomplishment as only athletes have been awarded that privilege, such as Micheal Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James to name a few. Another notable individual with a unique Nike silhouette is Kanye West with his Yeezy collection. This is very interesting because it seems as though the same reason for his switch from one sports giant to the other is also relevant in this discussion as it pertains to Lorenzo's journey.

Before we detail the reason for Lorenzo's transition, we must parallel this to the case study of Kanye Wast Vs Nike. In a very well document relationship between Kanye West and Nike, their collaboration gave us some of the most iconic items in sneaker culture, especially within the last 20 years. the Yeezy's upon release took the world by storm and created huge sparks in resell culture for many years. The Inspiration behind the line notably included the Air Tech Challenge II, Jordan III, and IV and the first variation of this was released in 2007, the second 2 years later. Each colorway had a suggested retail price of between $215 - $245 and sold out almost immediately. Although the shoes were received extremely well, Kanye was unsatisfied with Nike's delay in releasing the Red October, all red colour-way of the Yeezy 2. in addition to the delay, based on the impact the shoes had on pop culture and Kanye's influence as an artist and a designer, he attempted to have conversations about something more than just selling sneakers - ownership and creative influence. Kanye has been very vocal since then about his feeling of disrespect from the global brand due to their lack of interest in giving him royalties on his products produced in collaboration with the brand. Therefore, Adidas came into the picture after a widespread call out from Kanye for a forward-thinking company to partner with him, his ideas, and his need for ownership. During this time the pendulum began to shift, not only because of Kanye West but because of the multiple designers that also made the transition from Nike to Adidas such as Denis Dekovic and Mark Miner, Marc Dolce. With regards to Kanye since the announcement of his partnership with Adidas, the rest is history as Yeezy is arguably the number 1 sneaker brand in the world.

Reverting to the question at hand, why did Jerry Lorenzo decide to take this leap in the footsteps of his long time creative collaborator Kanye West. In a leaked conversation, Jerry Lorenzo speaks on his personal frustrations with Nike and their differences in the overall vision of the Nike x Fear Of God partnership. In this conversation, Lorenzo describes having a long-term vision for his collaboration with Nike but the global brand did not have that same long-term vision. In addition to that, Lorenzo also had discrepancies with the financial aspect of his deal with Nike as he feels he was not compensated a fairly as possible. These are very similar issues that Kanye West also had with Nike and it seems as though the Portland, Oregon based brand have not learned from their prior mistakes. The new announcement of Jerry Lorenzo as the Head of Global Basketball at Adidas looks to be a considerable amount of additional responsibility on Lorenzo in comparison to his relationship with Nike. The announcement via Business of Fashion detailed that Adidas will also be helping Lorenzo launch the 3rd leg of the Fear Of God brand which is 'Fear Of God Athletics', which will focus on performance basketball and active lifestyle products. According to the Three Stripes, Lorenzo will drive the creative and business strategy for Adidas basketball globally.

When speaking on the new partnership, Lorenzo has stated “This is a role that is unprecedented in its very nature and nuanced attribution that it defies all titles and traditional definitions," said Lorenzo. "This is a fearless move where shared vision and conviction are at the heart of the accretion of two brands shaping sports and culture, with the purpose to truly multiply our nuanced strengths to revolutionize the performance basketball industry forever."

Nike has not spoken on the split at this time and it’s unlikely that they will go into detail about it ad there are a few questions about what will happen with the Fear Of God x Nike prior releases. However, we can all look ahead to a compelling partnership with another athletic powerhouse in Adidas x Jerry Lorenzo.

What are you most looking forward to about this collaboration? Let us know in the comments below.

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