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Kanye West moves to end Gap partnership

By | Published on Friday 16 September 2022

Kanye West

Kanye West has said that he is ending his partnership with Gap, claiming that the clothing retailer has failed to meet its obligations under the deal.

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

Gap CEO Mark Breitbard confirmed that the deal was being terminated in a memo to staff, although Yeezy Gap products already in development will still seemingly go on sale.

“While we share a vision of bringing high quality, trend-forward, utilitarian design to all people through unique omni experiences with Yeezy Gap”, Breitbard wrote, “how we work together to deliver this vision is not aligned. And we are deciding to wind down the partnership”.

“Yeezy Gap was launched to be a disruptive, highly creative endeavour – 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”, he went on. “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”.

The West/Gap partnership was originally announced in 2020, with the first West-designed product hitting Gap stores last year. Last month, the latest stage of the collaboration came in for criticism after a line of West clothes were presented in stores in rubbish bags, which the rapper seemed to say had been inspired by “the homeless”.

The Gap deal was supposed to run for at least ten years, but tensions have been apparently building since shortly after the partnership was announced, with West increasingly criticising the brand as time has gone on. Although, if it’s any consolation to Team Gap, he’s also been criticising Adidas, with which he has a similar deal, which he is also seeking to terminate.

Expanding on the rapper’s grievances, West’s team says that – under its deal – Gap was obligated to sell 40% of Yeezy Gap products in physical stores, and also open five shops selling only Yeezy Gap products by July next year. But the first two products launched under the deal – a jacket in 2020 and a hoodie last year – were sold exclusively online.

As he draws the Gap and Adidas collaborations to a close, West has hinted that he plans to open his own clothing retail stores.