On Thursday the 25th of June Kanye West’s brand Yeezy inked a multi-year deal with Gap. The agreement that is claimed to last for 10 years came as a surprise to many. The deal consists of a co-branded line of apparel to be released in 2021.
Yeezy the brand is a fashion collaboration between Kanye West and Adidas formed in 2013. The brand produces shoes in collaboration with the Adidas brand. The brand also has a separate apparel business under the same name that garnered attention for their monotone coloured sweatshirts, biker shorts and sweatpants. As of 2019, the brand generated around 1.3 billion in revenues and is one of the most influential contemporary fashion brands out there.
GAP is an American worldwide clothing retailer founded in 1969 by Donald Fisher and Doris Fisher. However, what once stood as a symbol of mass-market American heritage is now a struggling empire victim of the Darwinism effect brought by the internet where e-commerce and social media the threat of extinction. This was seen in the year ending the 1st of February report where the brand displayed a 10% drop in sales. Although this was not something they couldn’t recover from, the nail on the cross came in the form of an unpredictable pandemic that affected the entire fashion sector. But for a brand that is primarily distributed through brick and mortar, this led to a closure of 3300 stores and furlough of 80,000 employees not to mention the 43% drop in first-quarter sales as of June.
Upon further scrutinization, this deal seems to serve both players. The deal is seen to be a saving grace for GAP a company in need of revenue and hype. For the Yeezy brand, it offers a chance of diversification of the Yeezy into a more affordable market, further increasing the customer base of the brand. The New York Times reports that Gap estimates the Yeezy Gap brand will generate $1 billion in annual sales in five years.
The Yeezy Gap apparel will be available in gap stores worldwide and on its website. The collection will consist of apparel for men women and children to be priced at current GAP affordable prices. West hired Nigerian-British designer Mowalola Ogunlesi as creative director.
We look forward to the collaboration of the American contemporary and American heritage brands.
Words by Precious Njoki
Graphics by Sara Carpiniello