Rapper and designer Kanye West, now known as Ye, announced he is ending his collaboration with Gap Inc.
In the original 10-year agreement, Gap Ye gave creative direction on how his fashion brand “Yeezy” would impact the goods sold in stores. After two years he decided to pull the plug.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be on The Gap and bring the best possible product to the masses,” Ye told CNBC.
Ye signed the deal back in 2020 with intentions to work with Gap until 2030. Sonia Syngal, Gap’s CEO at the time, brought this deal to fruition.
In Gap’s 2020 website announcement, Ye was proudly described as a “visionary creative and cultural icon” ready to “disrupt fashion retail”.
Gap shares jumped 42% after announcing the collaboration, according to Yahoo Finance. For investors, this boded well for the revival of the once-ubiquitous ’90s brand.
Analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. estimate the deal will generate $1 billion in revenue within the first year, according to CNBC.
As a teenager, Ye worked at a Gap retail store in his hometown of Chicago.
Since then, the rapper has not only made a name for himself with his music, but also secured millions of dollars for his shoe brand YEEZY, which is produced in cooperation with Adidas AG. He created a growing market for his brand name.
The collaboration with Gap seemed like a promising opportunity for Ye and the clothing company.
The deal consisted of selling merchandise under the Yeezy Gap brand and opening brick-and-mortar stores under the Yeezy Gap name.
Ye told CNBC he was disappointed with the lack of partnership and unity between the Gap and Yeezy team.
In the notice of termination, the Legal Department of Yes allegedly that Gap has failed to meet its contractual obligations related to product distribution and the opening of Yeezy Gap Stores.
He intended to design goods at their “best level” compared to big fashion houses, but to sell them at very affordable prices. His intention to cater to the masses was also important to his agenda.
“I wasn’t able to set the actual price I wanted for this collection,” Ye told CNBC in part. “They did pop-ups and I signed with them because in the contract they said they would do stores. They just ignored us because we kept building stores.”
He expressed his frustration with the Gap team, saying he felt ignored and had been looked at jokingly.
Although Gap agreed to give Ye full creative direction under Yeezy Gap, merchandise was distributed with color combinations he did not approve.
“Gap gave Ye no choice but to terminate their cooperation agreement due to a material breach by Gap,” Nicholas Gravante Jr., an attorney representing Ye, told the Associated Press
Ultimately, Ye and Gap’s management team did not see eye to eye. Following the termination announcement, Gap’s stock closed down more than 3%. According to Gravante, Ye intends to open physical retail stores for his brand, as reported by CBS News.
“A king cannot dwell in someone else’s castle, a king must build his own castle,” Ye told CNBC.