Kanye West Hires Nike’s Nur Abbas As New Head Of Design At Yeezy

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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 his Gap collection. The billionaire fashion and music mogul’s empire also includes a streetwear line and a clothing label associated with Stemwear, his portable Stem Player music device.

Leslie Ghize, EVP at fashion and consumer research firm Tobe Doneger, says the hiring of Abbas might be exactly 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 depicting her new boyfriend, Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, being buried alive.

“Nur Abbas’ background, a mix of know-how in luxury, mainstream, streetwear and collaboration, feels like it has the potential to be a stabilizing force, to add structure to the business,” Ghize says.

Abbas joins Yeezy after five years at Nike, where he directed projects for the Nike ACG collection and Nikelab Apparel. Before that, Abbas was at Louis Vuitton, where he spent close to a decade as senior menswear designer between 2006 and 2015. He also worked in lead 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 energized to work with Ye because he cares so deeply about design and moving culture forward,” Abbas told WWD. “At Yeezy and Gap, I’ve met some of the most talented people and teams, and I’m looking forward to working with them all to extend this new creative vision to the world.”

West ranked No. 5 on Forbes‘ Highest-Paid Entertainers list for 2022. Last year, Forbes estimated the Yeezy empire to be worth $1.5 billion and the main source of his wealth. At the time, UBS predicted the brand could exceed $3 billion in sales by 2026.

But West’s recent erratic could affect the value, reputation and longevity of the brand. This week, West has been pulled from performing at the 2022 Grammy Awards as a result of some of his outrageous online behavior, just a few days after he was banned from Instagram for 24 hours for lobbing a racial slur at comedian Trevor Noah.

Ghize believes Abbas can be the stabilizing force “that smooths out the flow of product, 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 sway, but a scarcity issue, » she continues. “With drops and waiting lists, this hard-to-get product is in demand. The potential has not yet been properly harnessed or maximized.”

Despite having a new designer at the helm, she expects West’s sense of style and artistic spirit will, ultimately, continue to steer the Yeezy brand. “Kanye has an advanced eye for design and an ability to see around the corner on consumer zeitgeist.”

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