Kanye West ends his partnership with Gap and wants to open his own stores

The rapper accuses the ready-to-wear brand of not having respected contractual obligations.

The artist, music producer and fashion designer Kanye West, now renamed Ye, told Gap on Thursday that he was unilaterally ending his partnership with the ready-to-wear brand, and announced that he planned to open their own stores.

“Gap leaves Ye no choice but to end their collaboration,” wrote his lawyer, Nicholas Gravante, in a letter, elements of which were sent to AFP, “due to the non-respect” of the terms of the contract.

Asked by AFP, Gap did not react immediately to this document, sent Thursday morning according to Nicholas Gravante. Wall Street reacted badly to the announcement, the title losing almost 3%.

Accused delays

According to several American media, the artist notably criticizes Gap for delays in the marketing of products from the Yeezy range that he created for the brand. Expected in the second half of 2021, according to him, they were finally put on the shelves in July 2022. A few unique pieces had been offered previously since 2021.

Ye also claims that Gap has not fulfilled its commitment to open dedicated Yeezy Gap outlets. According to several American media, this letter of rupture had been preceded by another, sent in August and which gave 30 days to Gap to respect its contractual obligations.

“Ye has attempted to resolve these matters with Gap, directly and through his attorney,” the letter reads. “It got him nowhere. Ye will move forward to make up for lost time, opening Yeezy stores,” the lawyer warned in the letter sent to Gap.

Exchange of good practices

Announced with great fanfare in June 2020, this partnership was well received and seen as one of the ways for Gap, a brand with an aging image, to revive itself. According to New York TimesGap was counting on an annual turnover of one billion dollars for Yeezy products alone within five years, the partnership having been signed for a period of ten years.

Kanye West he saw this collaboration as a way to make his products accessible, after having limited himself to reduced series at high prices, financed by the German equipment manufacturer Adidas.

The collection, launched in 2022, took up the dress codes of Kanye Westnamely loose clothes and dark colors, including variations of the famous hooded sweater (hoodie), reference piece of the Gap catalog.

In difficulty for several years, Gap still published, in August, a quarterly turnover down 10% over one year for the ready-to-wear chain. Since October 2020, the group has been engaged in the closure, in North America, of approximately 350 Gap stores and Banana Republic, another chain controlled by the company, which also owns the Old Navy and Athleta brands.

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