Kanye West is reportedly terminating his buzzy, but apparently strained, partnership with Gap Inc. According to the Wall Street Journal. The decision was supposedly cemented Thursday, when West's lawyers sent a letter to Gap notifying the retailer of Yeezy LLC's plans, alleging that Gap had breached their agreement.
This partnership dates back to 2020, when Gap and West agreed to design a clothing line under a joint Yeezy Gap brand. In the past two years, Gap has introduced hoodies, anoraks and T-shirts for a relatively affordable price. However, according to the letter West sent Gap, the retail chain has not fulfilled its promise of releasing apparel and opening retail stores, leading to West's decision to pull out.
Fortunately for those still hoping to cop, the items won't be immediately retracted from stores. Under the terms of agreement, Gap will be able to continue to sell existing Yeezy Gap products through the first half of 2023. That will include product releases this fall and even a holiday collection. Furthermore, pieces made in collaboration with Balenciaga will still be sold through Gap.
The report comes after issues in the relationship between Ye and Gap became public via social media. As the WSJ article points out, in late August, West criticized the retailer on Instagram for allegedly stealing his designs while restricting his creative influence. West has fired similar claims at Adidas, including allegations about the sportswear company copying designs, yet not fulfilling contractual obligations. WSJ predicts that his agreements with both Gap and Adidas are likely be severed prematurely — Adidas' contract was set to end 2026; Gap's in 2030.
"I signed with both Gap and Adidas because it contractually stated they would build permanent stores, which neither company has done even though I saved both those companies," the designer said in a now-deleted Instagram post. "It's going to cost you billions to keep me. It's going to cost you billions to let me go," he added.
But don't worry, Yeezy isn't going anywhere. After multiple failed attempts to collaborate with corporate America, West plans on going solo. "It's time for me to go it alone," Ye said in a recent phone interview with Bloomberg. "Now it's time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing in between me and the audience."
West told Bloomberg he is now looking to open his own "Donda campuses," communities that will comprise shops, farms and dorms. Products sold there will be designed uniquely by Yeezy. West will also keep operating his e-commerce shop, Yeezy Supply.
UPDATE, Sept. 15 2:30 p.m.: Bloomberg's Kim Bhasin reports that, in response to the now-public feud, that Gap's President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Breitbard released a memo to employees Thursday confirming that the retailer would terminate the partnership. "Simply put, 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 message read. "And we are deciding to wind down the partnership"
The article also confirmed that Gap will continue to sell Yeezy Gap product through early 2023, including new fall and holiday launches.