Kanye West’s fixation on the Gap goes back a long way. On his 2004 debut album The College Dropout, he rapped about stealing from the clothing chain when he worked there as a teenager. In a 2015 interview with Zane Lowe, he expressed his interest in developing an affordable fashion line, aspiring to become “the Steve Jobs of the Gap.” Whether it lives up to such lofty billing remains to be seen, but the partnership is happening. Yeezy has officially fallen into the Gap.
In the first half of 2021, the Gap and Kanye’s enormously popular Yeezy apparel brand will launch Yeezy Gap, a brand that will supposedly provide “modern, elevated basics for men, women, and kids at accessible price points.” Nigerian-British designer Mowalola Ogunlesi is coming on board as Yeezy Gap’s design director. Kanye announced the partnership today with a series of tweets featuring a #WESTDAYEVER hashtag. He used the same hashtag to tease other projects including the Dr. Dre-produced sequel to his Jesus Is King album, a video for new song “Wash Us In The Blood,” and a cartoon based on his Kid Cudi partnership Kids See Ghosts animated by Takashi Murakami.
According to the New York Times, Gap struck up a 10-year partnership with Kanye, with the option to renew after five years, by which point the Gap is hoping the Yeezy Gap brand will be generating $1 billion in annual sales. It’s not that farfetched considering Yeezy’s Adidas-branded sneakers did $1.3 billion in sales last year, though those famously cost a fortune, whereas the Yeezy Gap clothes are supposed to be affordable. Whether this collection includes the perfect hoodie also remains to be seen.
The Gap could really use such an infusion. Even before taking a hit from coronavirus, the brand, which generated $4.6 billion in global revenue last year, saw plummeting sales and closed more than 100 stores in recent years. Meanwhile Yeezy has helped Kanye to become a certified billionaire and the highest paid musician of 2020. He’s certainly getting scratch now.