Kanye West is facing a lawsuit from a high-end fashion rental service that claims he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fees and has entirely failed to return more than a dozen “rare, esteemed pieces.”
In a complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles court, the David Casavant Archive – which bills itself as a “private collection of the world’s rarest and most coveted garments” – said that Kanye had simply stopped paying rental fees in late 2020 for 13 different items in his possession.
The Casavant Archive, which claims that it also rents to Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Tom Brady and others, says those unpaid fees now total $221,810 – and that Kanye must pay an additional $195,100 to replace the items if they are fully lost.
“The items are all rare, esteemed pieces valued for their scarcity and importance in fashion history,” lawyers for the company wrote. “They are not fungible commodities. The replacement fees reflect the loss of future rentals, loan opportunities, publicity, and the lost value to the Archive as a whole, as each lost item is part of a greater collection that derives its value from its completeness.”
The case is hardly the only legal headache for Kanye. He’s currently embroiled in messy divorce proceedings with ex-wife Kardashian, and he’s facing multiple copyright lawsuits over allegations of unlicensed sampling. In February, rumors swirled that he might face assault charges over an incident in which he allegedly punched a fan outside a Los Angeles nightclub.
In the new case, the Casavant Archive points out that it had a good relationship with the star for years, offering consulting and rental services to him and his Yeezy Apparel LLC since 2014. When Kanye would want to keep an item for longer, he would simply keep paying rental fees without any issue.
“When defendant Ye would occasionally lose items that he had rented from the Archive, defendant Yeezy was billed the replacement fee,” the company’s lawyers wrote. “All parties understood (as expressed orally and in writing and reflected in many years of prior dealings) that because the garments are not commodities that are easily replaceable.”
The lawsuit claims that same arrangement applied to 13 items that Kanye rented in February 2020 and then failed to return, but that he eventually stopped paying the weekly rental fee in October of 2020. Casavant Archive says efforts to resolve the problem have hit a dead-end.
“Defendants have not responded meaningfully to plaintiff’s numerous inquiries about defendants’ unpaid balance and the missing items, referring plaintiff to individuals without knowledge or authority to resolve the dispute, or advising plaintiff to send inquiries to inactive email accounts,” the company wrote.
A spokeswoman for Kanye did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday.