Fear of God Athletics May Answer adidas’ Post-YEEZY Prayers

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This article was published April 21, 2023 and updated on May 5

Fear of God Athletics, the sportswear line overseen by FOG and adidas, has been in the works for upwards of two years so its launch deserved a substantial spotlight. On April 19, Fear of God founder Jerry Lorenzo found the perfect moment to finally reveal FOG Athletics: its star-studded, invite-only Eighth Collection runway show at the Hollywood Bowl.

Therein, Fear of God Athletics quietly debuted alongside Fear of God’s mainline fare. That it seamlessly slotted in amidst FOG’s mainline bouclé wool coats, cashmere pullovers, and washed leather pants indicated that FOG Athletics is intended to offer something more luxurious than a typical adidas partnership, recalling the strategy initially utilized by Kanye “Ye” West’s adidas YEEZY collection.

The question is, can FOG Athletics fill the expensive shoes left by the dissolution of adidas YEEZY in the wake of Ye’s anti-Semitic meltdown?

On one hand, adidas needs a brand to fill the YEEZY void.

Without Ye, adidas has a billion-dollar hole in its wallet — not even including leftover YEEZY stock — and is likely very interested in finding the next big-name collaborator to achieve what scrapped projects like adidas’ IVY PARK line couldn’t (money, hype, all that).

On the other hand, adidas and Fear of God’s Athletics line has been in the works since long before Ye decided to blame Jewish people for his problems, so it’s not likely that the sub-label’s focus would shift much in the interim.

Still, Fear of God Athletics does give shades of early adidas YEEZY SEASON collections and not just because it’s also extremely beige.

Like Ye’s adidas line, FOG Athletics debuted by way of a splashy runway show with lots of buzz and very little inside access — remember when YEEZY SEASON 3 debuted by way of an impromptu Life of Pablo concert at Madison Square Garden?

Fear of God’s Hollywood Bowl show was better organized than that, admittedly, but the communal vibe was similar.

Jerry Lorenzo’s mentor Ye was even in attendance (note that Lorenzo previously defended Ye in a now-deleted Instagram post from early 2023).

Anyways, the Fear of God Athletics stuff we saw on the runway was far more elevated that the first-look FOG Athletics gear we first saw last year and expanded on the ideas put forth by FOG Athletics samples seen online in recent months.

Prior to FOG Athletics collection’s partial reveal at the Hollywood Bowl runway, Lorenzo would only hint that the adidas line was “really big,” basketball-inspired, and leaned into luxury, as is often the case for Fear of God’s oeuvre.

The stuff we saw at the fashion show was definitely of that nature: who could’ve expected that Fear of God Athletics would encompass fringed leather track pants and suede weekender bags?

Especially given that all we’d seen of FOG Athletics prior to the fashion show was a single yellow hoodie, the fashion-forward stance was a pretty surprising change of pace.

This is apparently not an adidas line for the casual consumer, apparently. It’s funny, because that’s the exact mantra that adidas’ YEEZY SEASON line epitomized when it first launched.

Ye and adidas initially imagined YEEZY SEASON as an upscale collection of clothes, accessories, and apparel that was far more expensive than any other high-end streetwear label.

Remember, adidas YEEZY launched in 2015, years before every luxury house on the planet was doing streetwear. Supreme x Louis Vuitton wouldn’t even be revealed for another two years, for instance — none of this framework existed at the time. The internet practically rioted when Ye’s A.P.C. collection delivered a $100 T-shirt the year prior.

It didn’t help that much of the YEEZY SEASON clothing that made it to production looked pretty normal, mostly comprising boxy T-shirts, washed-out hoodies, and all the other things that Ye made his uniform for years to come.

Not easy to justify $400+ on a basic hoodie, especially given that the general public at the time saw YEEZY SEASON as an adidas line rather than a standalone luxury label.

As more and more YEEZY SEASON stuff lingered on shelves, prices were dropped and production shifted from Italy to more conventional (and affordable) adidas manufacturers in Asia.

YEEZY SEASON collections dwindled from a massive assortment of showpieces, ready-to-wear, and accessories aplenty to basically just the YEEZY footwear line, occasionally accented by a track pant or two.

All that being said, Fear of God is arguably better set up to make a luxury-inclined adidas line work.

FOG Athletics is clearly poised to tap into the folks who’re already snapping up Fear of God’s pricey mainline collection rather than affordability-minded ESSENTIALS consumers, hence why Eighth Collection and FOG Athletics mingled on the runway while ESSENTIALS was nowhere to be found.

It’s a big swing, to be sure, though I wouldn’t be surprised if adidas and Fear of God walk a balancing act by selling its comparatively affordable basketball-inspired sneakers and athleisure items alongside more expensive premium goods. FOG Athletics is reportedly quite a large collection, after all.

If it works, FOG Athletics may be adidas’ next personality-driven hit once it launches in the second half of 2023. If not, well, the YEEZY model proved that people are plenty happy to just buy collaborative shoes.

Have some faith and fear god. FOG Athletics could be the YEEZY savior that adidas has been praying for.

  • Adidas
  • Fear Of God

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