On Friday, Gap announced that it has inked a multi-year deal with West’s popular Yeezy label to deliver a co-branded line of apparel and accessories to the market in 2021.
Under West’s creative direction, the Yeezy design studio will develop the new line to “deliver modern, elevated basics for men, women and kids at accessible price points,” Gap stated in a press release.
Touting the news as the “WESTDAYEVER” on Twitter, West confirmed the collaboration but revealed little about his design vision.
West posted a Yeezy version of Gap’s iconic blue square logo and a blurred image of cargo pants, a hoodie, a nylon jacket and weekender bag that references the date the deal was inked and West’s Wyoming ranch, where he hopes to jumpstart Made in USA manufacturing. The bag features embroidery that states, “Developed by Yeezy and Gap in Cody, WY 062520.”
Gap described the partnership as a relationship that has come full circle as West worked in a Gap store as a teenager. “We are excited to welcome Kanye back to the Gap family as a creative visionary, building on the aesthetic and success of his Yeezy brand and together defining a next-level retail partnership,” said Mark Breitbard, global head of Gap Brand.
Similar to his partnerships with Adidas, West maintains sole ownership of the Yeezy brand, which was valued at $2.9 billion in April.
“Under terms of the partnership, Gap and Yeezy benefit as the business grows, with Yeezy receiving royalties and potential equity related to sales achievement,” Gap stated.
As is the case for most mall retailers, Gap has been hit hard by the pandemic. In Q1, Gap’s global net sales fell 50 percent, as store sales were down 64 percent and online sales declined 5 percent. The brand is also dealing with mounting rent debt. Earlier this month, Simon Property Group slapped Gap with a lawsuit demanding the more than $65.9 million in rent it has skipped out on since the coronavirus pandemic struck. And Gap Inc. also canceled plans in January to spin off Old Navy as a standalone company, citing “softer business performance”—which a Yeezy tie-up could help to reverse.
Internally, the heritage company is putting steps in place for growth outside its traditional channels. After being in the Mexican market for 11 years, in June Gap launched a standalone e-commerce website in Mexico as part of the brand’s partnership with its longstanding franchisee, Liverpool.
In May, Gap signed its first ever multi-brand licensing agreement with IMG to deliver cross-category product extensions with a focus on the brand’s casual, American style that includes “support” for Gap Kids and babyGap. While Gap and IMG are still exploring product categories, the two said sectors being considered include baby equipment and baby care, home décor and textiles, and furniture.