After Adidas Discontinued Yeezy Production, a Georgia Shoe Manufacturer Laid Off the Majority of Its Workforce
Okabashi, an Adidas manufacturing partner and family-owned footwear company based in Buford, Georgia, has laid off 142 workers as a result of Adidas’s decision to end its partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West.
“Right now, there aren’t enough orders to keep all employees busy.” “Unfortunately, Okabashi is announcing 142 layoffs effective immediately,” said the statement.
A company spokesperson told CNN on Friday that this amounted to two-thirds of the company’s workforce.
Adidas (ADDDF) severed ties with the musician following his now-famous anti-Semitic rant last month. The sportswear company stated that it “does not tolerate antisemitism or any other type of hate speech,” and that his recent comments were “unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous.”
Payments to Ye and his companies have ceased, as have sales and production of Yeezy branded products.
“Clearly, Adidas does not tolerate hate speech, and Okabashi also stands for these values,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, this means Okabashi will have to halt its current production for Adidas,” the company stated.
Okabashi has been a footwear contract manufacturing partner for Adidas Yeezy products in the United States since April 2020, according to a statement provided to CNN.
According to the company, it is “collaborating with local government agencies and manufacturers to provide support and alternative employment opportunities for the impacted team members.”
According to the shoe company, “layoff employees will receive severance and extended healthcare coverage.”
Okabashi will continue to produce its own branded products and is exploring other partnership opportunities as one of the remaining 1% of US footwear manufacturers, according to the statement.
Okabashi, which has been in business since 1984, makes sandals that are “made of approximately 25% recycled materials,” according to the company’s website.
The options for dealing with unsold Yeezy merchandise present significant challenges.
The environmental impact of destroying or disposing of unsold merchandise is significant. Making clothing and other apparel already has 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 incinerators, only exacerbate the problem.
Experts say another common industry tactic is rebranding merchandise to hide the controversy. It entails removing or concealing the logo of the distressed brand.
According to Burt Flickinger, retail expert and managing director at retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group, Yeezy products are very distinctive in their style and design, so rebranding them may not work.
Overseas markets, which are often the solution for problematic merchandise, are the most likely destination for unwanted Yeezy products. Sending goods overseas to countries in need, where durability is more important than brand or fashion, is a common industry fallback.