Kanye West Terminates Clothing Partnership With Gap

Kanye West Terminates Clothing Partnership With Gap

By The New York Times on September 16, 2022
Kanye West
Kanye West at the 2016 Met Gala in New York City. | Justin Lane/EPA

The experiment in corporate disruption that was the partnership between Kanye West and Gap is officially over.

Ye, as Mr. West is now known, formally notified Gap via a letter on Thursday, September 15, 2022, that he was terminating their agreement involving the Yeezy Gap apparel line, citing breach of contract. Instead, Ye is moving ahead with plans to open his own stores.

The partnership, announced with a drumroll of publicity in June 2020, had the possibility of lasting 10 years and, Gap hoped, generating more than $1 billion in annual sales. Yeezy Gap would encompass men’s, women’s, and children’s wear and benefit both sides, turning around the fortunes of the Gap by giving it the veneer of cool and giving Ye access to the mass market.

Gap acknowledged that the agreement was ending in a message to employees.

“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,” the Gap brand president, Mark Breitbard, wrote. “And we are deciding to wind down the partnership.”

Lawyers for Ye originally sent a breach-of-contract notice to Gap on Aug. 16. Gap responded with a letter on Aug. 23, but according to Ye’s lawyer, Nicholas Gravante Jr., “Gap left him no choice but to terminate their agreement.”

He did so on Thursday, arguing in a notice that the retailer had “abandoned its contractual obligations.” The notice, a copy of which was viewed by The New York Times, said Gap had failed to sell products in its namesake stores and had not opened stores for the specific purpose of selling Yeezy products. YZY Gap stores were supposed to open in the latter half of 2021, the letter said.

“Ye had diligently tried to work through these issues with Gap both directly and through counsel,” Mr. Gravante, co-head of global litigation at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, said.

He added that Ye would “promptly move forward to make up for lost time by opening Yeezy retail stores.”

Gap plans to continue to sell new Yeezy Gap products that have already been created, including a collection for the holiday season, through the first half of next year.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on Ye’s notifying Gap that he wanted to end the partnership.

Two years ago, when the mall stalwart rolled out its splashy announcement about teaming up with Ye, the company’s stock price had its biggest uptick in at least 40 years. Industry insiders were surprised at the partnership between a very corporate entity and a very uncorporate artist. Mickey Drexler, a former chief executive of Gap, later told Yahoo Finance that “it doesn’t make any sense, in my opinion.”

At the time, Mr. Breitbard said the retailer was excited to work closely with Ye in “defining a next-level retail partnership.”

Source: The New York Times

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