Nike signs shoe designer Nigo away from Adidas

Nigo, best known for founding A Bathing Ape, has joined Nike as a design collaborator.

Nike signs shoe designer Nigo away from Adidas

Nike signed a contract with a designer that has been working exclusively for one of their main competitors since decades.

According to Complex, Japanese designer Nigo is now a Nike design collaborator. This is a notable move, as Nigo's brands Bape and Human Made exclusively worked with Adidas over the past 20 years.

This collaboration is noteworthy for many other reasons. Nike is suing Nigo's former Bape brand, which he sold to Nike in 2011. Nike (NYSE NKE) filed documents in New York federal court alleging that Bape's shoes are 'near-verbatim copies' Nike's most iconic silhouettes including Air Force 1, Air Jordan 1 & Dunk.

According to the lawsuit, Nigo, who is legally known as Tomoaki Nagao founded Bape back in 1993. However, it is now owned and operated by Hong Kong's fashion conglomerate I.T. According to the lawsuit, Bape is now owned by Hong Kong fashion conglomerate I.T.

Complex stated that Nike had not confirmed Nigo's coming to their brand. However, they pointed out a recent Nigo post showing him wearing Nike sneakers. Complex noted that this is noteworthy, given the fact that Nigo wears Nike shoes so rarely.

In the past six months, as Adidas dealt with recent turmoil in its business, Nike and Adidas have become more competitive. In March, it slashed the dividend for 2022 and said that 2023 might bring its first annual net loss in over 30 years.

Nike has responded by making major moves to increase market share. After cutting ties to retailers, it recently announced that it would renew its partnership Foot Locker (NYSE FL). Adidas announced in May that, as a response to Nike's retailer cutbacks, it would form a partnership with Foot Locker. The company said this new partnership could generate up to $105,000,000 per year.

Adidas said that it would also make Foot Locker the leading retailer for its basketball shoes and clothing, one of the key areas in which Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon stated her company would now focus on expanding.