Kanye West‘s collaboration with The Gap appears to have ended. Lawyers for the artist who now goes by Ye sent a letter to the retail chain notifying it that he was ending his two-year relationship with the company over claims that The Gap breached their agreement with West by not opening retail outlets and releasing product as agreed to.
“Gap’s substantial noncompliance with its contractual obligations has been costly,” West’s lawyer Nicholas Gravante told CNN in a statement on Thursday (Sept. 15). “Ye will now promptly move forward to make up for lost time by opening Yeezy retail stores.” Gravante said that Kanye was left with “no choice but to terminate their collaboration” after the chain reportedly failed to open Yeezy-branded stores.
The partnership was originally announced in June 2020 and included the release of a number of fast-selling, buzzy items, but according to a Wall Street Journal report on the split the Gap was required to sell 40% of Yeezy Gap product in its retail stores during the third and fourth quarters of 2021, which reportedly did not happen; spokespeople for West and The Gap had not returned Billboard‘s requests for comment at press time. The first item in the partnership, a Yeezy gap hoodie, went on sale in the fall of last year, but was only available on Gap’s website.
West recently unleashed a string of harsh commentary on his social media accounts lambasting his deal with The Gap as well as one with Adidas, claiming that the Gap allegedly copied his designs and left him out of creative decisions and meetings. Despite the reported split, the WSJ reported that existing Yeezy Gap items will continue to be sold in Gap stores while supplies last, noting that merchandise made in collaboration with fashion house Balenciaga also sold through the Gap will not be affected.
The Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga products debuted in stores in July and the Gap said a new drop of Yeezy Gap product is slated to hit retail stores in the fall and in time for the holiday season. In a widely quoted letter from Gravante’s firm citing the alleged failure to execute the agreed-to terms, the Gap was reportedly required to open as many as five Yeezy Gap retail stores by July 31, 2023; to date none have opened.
Speaking to Bloomberg earlier this week, West said, “It’s fine. I made the companies [Gap, Adidas] 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.”
In an August Instagram post, Ye said he plans to open his own retail stores “worldwide. Starting in Atlanta.”