Puma Bets On A Female Future, Signs Deal With Kylie Jenner

Rihanna's Fenty x Puma line was just the start of trying to appeal to more women

Kylie Jenner is Puma's new brand ambassador. — (Getty Images for H&M)
Feb 18, 2016 at 11:13 AM ET

Fresh off of Rihanna’s much talked about Fenty x Puma show at New York Fashion Week, the German sneaker company announced that it’s bringing Kylie Jenner on as a brand ambassador as part of a larger play to appeal to women. Adam Petrick, their global director of brand and marketing, told Refinery29, “Kylie represents a fresh and exciting new era for fashion, and we couldn’t think of a more fitting and influential female to headline this campaign for Puma.” That may be, but things with Jenner have already gotten off to a bumpy start, and their future already looks a little uncertain.

Signing the 18-year old reality star, who will reportedly pull in seven figures for the gig, is part of a larger push by Puma to regain relevance in the sportswear market. Kylie has been a rising star in the fashion world—even debuting her own clothing line with her sister Kendall ahead of NYFW. But another fashion hotshot has been very public about undermining her deal—Kanye West, Jenner’s increasingly unhinged brother-in-law, who has very strong ties to Adidas.

Kanye was apparently angry when he found out the deal was already done but calmed down after learning that Kylie has a “carve out” which allowed her to wear Adidas. That probably explains why she was photographed in Adidas sneakers on the day her Puma deal was announced. As for her work for Puma, her first photo shoot with them will debut in April, and her deal is reportedly only for six months.

Puma’s partnership with Rihanna, on the other hand, has already proven a success, giving the brand a notable boost in their women’s business. Bjorn Gulden, Puma’s CEO, said at a news conference, “The future is female … we see more and more women across the world are doing sports. We feel we can be the brand that owns the space between the gym and the runway.” Rihanna’s first collection with the brand was very well received at New York Fashion Week and has also brought some much needed prestige to the brand, which had been struggling to keep with with competitors Nike and Adidas. Kylie Jenner’s role will not be nearly as involved, but at the very least she can be counted on to keep Puma in the conversation.

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