Kanye West has formally notified Gap that he will terminate his partnership with the apparel company, according to The Wall Street Journal. The tumultuous partnership, first announced in 2020, has caused West to voice numerous complaints on social media in recent weeks.
The deal between West and Gap was initially announced as a partnership to develop a collection of clothing under the Yeezy Gap brand. On Thursday, West’s lawyers sent a letter to Gap to notify the company that Yeezy LLC is terminating the arrangement. According to the letter, as seen by The Wall Street Journal, Gap breached the agreement by not releasing the apparel or opening retail stores as planned.
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Hours after the news broke, West appeared on CNBC where he said partnering with the Gap had “always been a dream” of his, specifically the possibility of selling affordable items that were “designed at the same level as the top fashion houses in the world.” But West claimed the Gap didn’t let him set the price points, and made the clothes way more expensive, while he also expressed his frustration with aesthetic choices and how the executives supposedly treated him.
“Sometimes I would talk to the guys, the heads, the leaders, and it would just be like I was on mute or something,” West said. “Our agenda, it wasn’t aligned.”
West, of course, used the opportunity to air some grievances and scorch some earth as well. When asked if Gap had the opportunity to rebound from this, he quickly retorted, “They only have one opportunity to be able to be a big player, what do you think it is? … They have one individual on the planet who can save the Gap.”
He later quipped, “Don’t bring a leader in and have them not lead. Why would I argue with people who are getting paid by the Gap? I’m sorry, I’m not gonna argue with people who are broker than me about money.”
While no further collaborations will be released, Gap will still have the rights to sell existing Yeezy Gap products before ceasing to use the brand name. It does not impact merchandise made in collaboration with Balenciaga, which is also sold via Gap.
Under the agreement, Gap was required to open “as many as five retail stores” dedicated to showcasing Yeezy Gap products by July 31, 2023. So far, the company has not opened any.
West has been extremely vocal about his unhappiness with Gap. He has criticized the company on social media, accusing them of leaving him out of the creative process. Last month, West posted a video speaking to Gap executives, saying, “You have to really give me the position to be Ye and let me do what I’m thinking, or I have to do the thinking somewhere else.”
He added that he wanted to open his own retail stores. “We are going to open Yeezy stores worldwide,” West said on Instagram in August. “Starting in Atlanta.”
The first Yeezy Gap products arrived last year, including a hoodie that was only available via Gap’s website. Those were followed by the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga line, which debuted in July. More products are scheduled to arrive in stores for the coming fall and holiday season.
Along with Gap, West has been public about his disapproval for Adidas, with which he has a 10-year deal, through 2026. He claims they have not lived up to their agreement, have left him out of meetings, and have stolen his Yeezy designs. “It’s going to cost you billions to keep me,” West said to the company on Instagram. “It’s going to cost you billions to let me go.”
West has since wiped his Instagram of all posts except for several promoting a collection of Yeezy “shades.”
Earlier this month, West told Bloomberg that he wants to go about his future ventures independently.
“It’s time for me to go it alone,” Ye said. “It’s fine. I made the companies money. The companies made me money. We created ideas that will change apparel forever. Like the round jacket, the foam runner, the slides that have changed the shoe industry. Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”
He also issued a warning to both parties: “If these companies, if they want to play with me — I’ve been playing nice up to this point.”
This story was updated on 9/15/22 at 4:21 p.m. ET with quotes from West’s interview about terminating the deal on CNBC.
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