HomeBBC NEWSEntertainmentKanye West to end partnership with retailer Gap

    Kanye West to end partnership with retailer Gap


    Rapper Kanye West is ending his once-famous partnership with retailer Gap, which he had hoped would breathe new life into his brand.

    Mr. West accused the company of failing to comply with the terms of the deal, including failing to open a separate store for his Yeezy fashion brand.

    The deal with Yeoman West was hailed as potentially transformative when it was announced in 2020.

    But already there are signs of tension.

    The first item produced by the partnership was a $200 (£173) puffy jacket that didn’t go on sale for a year. That led to reports that Gap was frustrated with the slow rollout of Yeezy products, which also included a bright-colored hoodie that sold for $90.

    Meanwhile, Mr. West has repeatedly criticized the company on social media, accusing it of copying his designs, excluding him from meetings and ignoring his requests to join the board.

    Gap has also faced its own internal struggles, including the firing of its CEO this summer, and the company declined to comment.

    But in an email to employees seen by the BBC, its president and CEO Mark Breitbard said that while Gap and Yeezy share many values, “how we work together to achieve that vision does not align.”

    “It’s important to know that throughout the partnership, we have kept our promises – and the team has done so with the utmost integrity, overcoming obstacles and showing incredible determination,” he added.

    Image caption,A Gap hoodie produced in collaboration with Balenciaga and Yeezy

    Mr. West’s attorney, Nicholas Gravante, said Mr. West had tried to resolve the Gap’s problems but “got nowhere. He sent a letter to the Gap on Mr. West’s behalf informing it of his intention to end the deal on Thursday.

    “Gap gave him no choice but to terminate their agreement,” he said. “Now, Ye will now make up for lost time by opening Yeezy retail stores.”

    Mr. West, who made his name as a rapper in the 2000s before venturing into fashion, has long had high ambitions for Yeezy, known for its sold-out sneakers, foam slippers and four-square oversized clothes in colors like beige and black.

    In 2020, when a 10-year deal with the Gap was announced, the company, owned by Mr. West, was valued at $2.9 billion.

    Since then, the two companies have partnered with high-end fashion brand Balenciaga. The latest result of that partnership – a line of black T-shirts, hoodies and trench coats – caused a stir when it began selling what looked like large garbage bags this summer.

    The partnership is governed by a separate agreement, according to a letter sent by Mr. West on behalf of the Gap.

    Mr. West also has a partnership with Adidas, which expires in 2026.

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