Last week, Kanye West officially announced via Bloomberg News that he was ending his brand partnerships to run his Yeezy brand solo. This is a huge move for all those involved, especially Gap and adidas. This comes after a public disagreement Gap Inc. had with Ye about his Yeezy fashion line. Immediately after which, he filed a trademark for a new logo (which you can read about here).
Depending on how old you are, you may or may not have heard of Gap. Basically, it was an affordable brand that was a hit with teens and icons alike in the 2000s, but has struggled to maintain relevance since. So signing with Kanye was a big win for the company, as two players in this partnership have been huge since the 2000s, but only one has remained in consumers’ minds. But Gap owns Old Navy, so there’s that.
While Gap and Yeezy are no more, the store will still keep its stock on the shelves until the mid-half of next year, so if you can find a brick-and-mortar near you, you have time. Maybe. The reason for the disbandment allegedly has to do with Gap not providing enough Yeezy merch in its stores, or creating dedicated Yeezy x Gap stores as outlined in their agreement.
After a 30-days notice in August and no dice, Ye also noted that he was frustrated with having less control than he wanted. He wasn’t able to have the final say on colors and pricing of the products. Ultimately, he said, they weren’t aligned on their visions for the partnership. The brand’s CEO stated that while the two saw eye to eye on quality and design, execution didn’t line up.
To make up for lost time, Kanye is moving full-speed ahead on opening the physical Yeezy stores he was promised — Gap’s failure to do so was very expensive. With Kanye earning royalties and equity from sales, the partnership was supposed to run from 2020-2026.
Even though the first launch sold out in hours last year, sales in the overall Gap brand started to rapidly decline. But with some missteps with Old Navy, and with the CEO leaving this summer, it seems like Gap has stumbled in its financial obligations to Kanye, who is the sole owner of his brand. (A very smart move, and indicative of how much he wants to control his brand).
He told Bloomberg that it was time for him to do Yeezy by himself. After all, it’s clear that he has a lot to do with his brand’s success — especially while running the show himself. “Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry,” he shared. “No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”
Photo via AP