Only a few hours after the news broke Kanye West‘s lawyers sent a letter to The Gap notifying the retail chain that he meant to end their tumultuous two-year relationship, Ye went on CNBC to explain the dissolution of his high-profile fashion foray.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be at the Gap and to bring the best possible product to the masses, and I’ve always talked to them about making products for $20—like the best products in the world, designed to the same level that they best fashion houses in the world, at $20 for the people,” said West, who attended Closing bell wearing a long-sleeved white shirt, ragged baseball hat, and oversized mirrored visor sunglasses. “And so we went through three years, and frankly, there’s always [those] matches and back and forth when you’re trying to build something new and integrate teams.”
West said his team’s designs were rolled out at confusing and conflicting price points. “And then they actually took one of the shirts and sold it for $19. So [they] didn’t price my stuff — they took my stuff and sold it for about $200 and all over their price point normally and made the exact shirt for $20,” he said.
Mirroring another point of agreement mentioned in his lawyer’s memo to the Gap that led to the breakup, West said that instead of the expected Yeezy retail stores, The Gap did “pop-ups,” which was not what he agreed to; at press time, The Gap had not responded Billboard‘s request for comment on the division. “And they just ignored us about building stores constantly. It was very frustrating. It was very disheartening,” Ye said. “Because I put everything I had. I put all my best relationships. I went and got Demna [Gvasalia], the head designer of Balenciaga, which is one of the hottest brands in the world. He does couture and with that relationship he ended up working on a Gap collection for me [Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga].”
Perhaps most frustrating for West was what he described as a poor communication channel with the brand, to the point where he said he felt ignored during meetings. “And sometimes I would talk to the guys, the leaders of — the leaders — and it was like I was quiet or something,” West said. “They totally — our agenda, it wasn’t aligned.”
West also talked about how his family — which he identified as “garments” [someone how involved in the fashion business] — would cut up Louis Vuitton bags and make them into “bootleg” jogging suits as well as create their own Cross Colors outfits. For that reason, he said, the meltdown of the Gap collaboration just means he now wants to build his own clothing community.
“And everyone knows I’m the leader. I’m the king, right?” he said. “So a king cannot live in another’s castle. A king must make his own castle.”
“Gap’s material failure to comply with its contractual obligations has been costly,” West’s attorney Nicholas Gravante told CNN in a statement Thursday (Sept. 15). “You will now immediately move forward to make up for lost time by opening Yeezy retail stores.” Gravante said Kanye was left with “no choice but to terminate their partnership” after the chain allegedly failed to open Yeezy-branded stores.
The partnership was originally announced in June 2020 and included the release of a number of fast-selling busy items, but according to a The Wall Street Journal report of the split, Gap was required to sell 40% of Yeezy Gap products in its retail stores during the third and fourth quarters of 2021, which reportedly did not happen.
West recently released a series of harsh comments on his social media accounts broke his deal with The Gap as well as one with Adidas, claiming as he did in the CNBC interview that Gap allegedly copied his designs and left him out of creative decisions and meetings. Despite the reported split is WSJ reported that existing Yeezy Gap merchandise will continue to be sold at Gap stores while supplies last, noting that merchandise made in collaboration with fashion house Balenciaga, also sold through Gap, will not be affected.
Look at Ye Closing bell below.