June 29, 2020
He’s a rapper, he’s a designer, he’s a preacher, he’s a billionaire (or so he says), he’s a true Trump believer; he’s a father and the husband of reality star Kim Kardashian. And he used to work at Gap as a kid growing up in Chicago.
But can the multitalented Kanye West pull Gap’s retail empire out of its years-long slump? The casual-clothing retailer announced on June 26 that it is teaming up with West’s fashion brand Yeezy on a collection called Yeezy Gap that will debut next year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Yeezy will receive royalties and potential equity, based on meeting sales targets.
West, who has 21 Grammy awards and whose Yeezy fashion brand had a tie-up with Nike, and currently has one with Adidas, has talked about wanting to partner with Gap in various interviews over the years. A former Gap employee in his teens, West even mentioned the retailer in his 2004 song “Spaceship.”
“I believe that Yeezy is the McDonald’s and the Apple of apparel,” West told the Journal in March. “In order to make the Apple of apparel the next Gap, it has to be a new invention. To invent something that’s so good that you don’t even get credit for it because it’s the norm.”
Founded in 1969 in San Francisco, Gap rose to fame by dressing several generations of Americans in its jeans, khakis, and T-shirts; but has since been overtaken by fast-fashion chains and new e-commerce players. Its sales have declined each year since 2013, dragging down results at parent Gap where its new chief executive, Sonia Syngal, is trying to fashion a turnaround in the middle of a pandemic.
And she thinks West is the man to do it, with a new line of T-shirts, jeans, and hoodies.
At Yeezy’s Cody, Wyoming, studio, Mr. West has been working on perfecting the hoodie. His version is chunky and slightly cropped at the waist. “The hoodie is arguably the most important piece of apparel of the last decade,” .West told the Journal in March.
A version of the hoodie—along with T-shirts and jeans for men, women and children—will be available at Gap stores and on its website beginning next year. Prices will be in line with Gap’s other offerings, according to a company spokesperson.
Research contact: @Gap