Lawyers for Ye (formerly Kanye West) have sent a letter to Gap saying West is ending his partnership with the apparel chain, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In the letter, West reportedly accused Gap of breaching its commitment by not releasing apparel from the collaboration and failing to open retail stores. It stated that 40 percent of the Yeezy Gap collection was required to have begun selling in physical stores in the second half of 2021. It also claimed Gap was supposed to have opened up to five stores focused on Yeezy Gap products by July 2023, though it hasn’t opened any to date.
West has recently taken to social media to air his grievances against Gap and Adidas, claiming both companies have copied his designs and haven’t kept promises made to the rapper.
If the partnership falls apart, it would be an early and startling end to what was supposed to be a 10-year deal with billion-dollar ambitions. The companies only joined forces in 2020, but after the initial announcement, the collaboration was slow to release clothing, launching only two items — a puffer jacket and a hoodie, both online exclusives — before Balenciaga joined the mix earlier this year.
The Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collection has been more widely available, with Gap even rolling it out to retail stores. But the clothes and their presence in Gap’s physical spaces have felt jarringly disconnected from the brand’s core identity and clothing.
Those items will not be affected by any change in the agreement between Yeezy and Gap, according to the Journal. Gap can continue selling existing Yeezy Gap items and products from the Balenciaga collaboration.
It’s still unclear what ability West has to terminate the arrangement, but any outcome at this point could put further strain on Gap.
”Kanye’s decision to terminate his partnership with Gap will come as a blow to the brand, which had pinned its hopes on Kanye’s magic to help revitalise interest in its ailing business,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData, in an emailed statement. “It is also an embarrassment for Gap which announced the deal with the iconic artist with much fanfare.”