Kanye West and Gap Ending Partnership

Kanye West has told Gap that he is severing his partnership with the company, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Report report. The rapper’s lawyers sent a letter to Gap notifying the company that Yeezy LLC would be terminating its agreement. In the letter, viewed by the Log and the AP, the lawyers claim that the Gap failed to meet the terms of its contract.

Gap sent a letter to its employees, viewed by Pitchfork, confirming that the partnership is coming to an end. “While we share a vision of bringing high-quality, trend-forward, utilitarian design to all people through unique omni experiences with Yeezy Gap, how we work together to deliver this vision is not aligned,” Gap president and CEO Mark Breitbard wrote. “And we are deciding to wind down the partnership.”

According to West’s team, Gap was obligated to sell 40% of Yeezy Gap items in brick-and-mortar stores throughout the third and fourth quarters of 2021, and that Gap was contractually required to open up to five retail stores dedicated to Yeezy Gap products by July 31, 2023. The letter states that Gap will be able to continue selling existing Yeezy Gap gear before ending use of the brand name. Earlier this week, the rapper, whose legal name is Ye, also said that he plans to terminate his collaboration with Adidas.

In a statement to Pitchfork, West’s Attorney Nicholas Gravante wrote, “Gap left Ye no choice but to terminate their collaboration agreement because of Gap’s substantial noncompliance. Ye had diligently tried to work through these issues with Gap both directly and through counsel. He has gotten nowhere.”

“Yeezy Gap was launched to be a disruptive, highly creative endeavor—one that’s challenged us to think and operate differently, attracted new, younger and more diverse customers, and enabled our talent to deliver incredible work with unmatched dedication, grit and creativity,” Breitbard wrote. “We look forward to our upcoming Yeezy Gap launches and releases in the pipeline, as planned. To the Yeezy Gap team, thank you… for your unrelenting push to build this business—we will harness that same energy as we push forward.”

West’s relationship with Gap has been strained for some time now. Collaborating with the company has been a longtime ambition for West, as the rapper worked at the chain as a teenager and expressed his affection for the brand in interviews. Yeezy Gap was initially announced in 2020 as an affordable clothing line with a 10-year deal. Soon after, West stated that he did not have a seat on the board at Gap or Adidas, tweeting, “black board seats matter.”

Yeezy Gap’s first item, an oversized jacket sold for $200, arrived in June 2021. The second product, a branded hoodie, debuted in the fall of 2021 for $90. Both designs were exclusively available online. The French luxury house Balenciaga entered the picture in 2022, resulting in a collaboration called Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga. InJuly, a Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga pop-up occurred at the Gap’s Times Square flagship store, marking the first time customers were able to see and try on the apparel. (West’s termination letter will not affect this collaboration.) In August 2022, West appeared on Fox News to defend selling his Yeezy Gap line in large black construction bags that some criticized as resembling garbage sacks. Around the same time, the rapper accused Gap of copying his designs, including the Balenciaga collaboration. West has expressed plans to open Yeezy retail stores.

Pitchfork has reached out to representatives for West, Gap, and Yeezy Gap for comment and more information.

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