Kanye West has hired Nur Abbas as head of design for his Yeezy brand, according to WWD. It’s a newly created position for the company where Abbas is expected to work alongside ‘Ye’ on his ongoing collaborations starting with Adidas and Gap.
West unveiled his first sneaker collaboration with Adidas in 2015 and launched a Yeezy Gap Perfect Hoodie line in 2020. Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with Balenciaga for its Gap collection. The billionaire fashion and music mogul’s empire also includes a streetwear line and a clothing brand associated with Stemwear, his Stem Player portable music device.
Leslie Ghize, executive vice president of fashion and consumer research firm Tobe Doneger, says hiring Abbas could be just what West needs to change the negative narrative of the past few months that has seen him trolling his soon-to-be ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, on social media and sharing a music video featuring her new boyfriend, saturday night live star Pete Davidson, buried alive.
“Nur Abbas’ background, a mix of luxury, mainstream, streetwear and collaboration savvy, feels like he has the potential to be a stabilizing force, to add structure to the world. company,” says Ghize.
Abbas joins Yeezy after five years at Nike, where he led projects for the Nike ACG collection and Nikelab Apparel. Prior to that, Abbas was at Louis Vuitton, where he spent nearly a decade as a senior menswear designer between 2006 and 2015. He also held senior design roles for menswear at Gucci and UNIQLO, and got his start as an assistant designer at Maison Margiela. , according to his LinkedIn page.
“I’m thrilled to work with Ye because he cares so much about design and changing culture,” Abbas said. WWD. “At Yeezy and Gap, I’ve met some of the most talented people and teams, and I look forward to working with them all to expand this new creative vision to the world.”
West ranked #5 in Forbes List of highest paid artists for 2022. Last year, Forbes estimated the Yeezy empire to be worth $1.5 billion and the primary source of his wealth. At the time, UBS predicted the brand could surpass $3 billion in sales by 2026.
But West’s recent erratic behavior could affect the brand’s value, reputation and longevity. This week West was removed from the 2022 Grammy Awards over some of his outrageous behavior online, just days after he was banned from Instagram for 24 hours for hurling a racial slur at comedian Trevor Noah.
Ghize believes Abbas can be the stabilizing force “smoothing the product flow, purpose and cadence” of the company. And, she adds, Yeezy could also benefit from another new hire – head of retail distribution and marketing.
“The Yeezy brand has a distinct aesthetic and cultural influence, but a scarcity issue,” she continues. “With declines and waiting lists, this hard-to-get product is in demand. The potential has not yet been properly tapped or maximized.
Despite having a new designer at the helm, she expects West’s sense of style and artistic spirit to ultimately continue to lead the Yeezy brand. “Kanye has an advanced eye for design and an ability to see around the corner on the consumer zeitgeist.”