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Kanye West ends Gap partnership, aims to open own boutiques

·2-min read

Kanye West told Gap on Thursday he was unilaterally severing his partnership with the retail brand and had plans to open his own stores.

"GAP left Ye no choice but to terminate their collaboration agreement because of GAP's substantial noncompliance," wrote the artist's lawyer, Nicholas Gravante, in a letter, elements of which were seen by AFP.

The rapper, producer, fashion designer and mercurial personality inked a much-touted deal with the retailer in 2020, with plans to marry the struggling Gap's clothing classics with West's Yeezy designs.

Gap did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment regarding the letter, which was sent Thursday morning, according to Gravante.

Wall Street took the news badly, with Gap shares dropping nearly three percent by around 1700 GMT.

The announcement caps months of social media complaints from West, which include accusations that he's been left out of the creative process and criticisms of marketing delays.

Gravante said West has "diligently" tried to work through issues with the company but "he has gotten nowhere."

"GAP's substantial noncompliance with its contractual obligations has been costly," he continued. "Ye will now promptly move forward to make up for lost time by opening Yeezy retail stores."

Gap had been expecting $1 billion from Yeezy products alone within five years of the ten-year signed partnership, according to The New York Times.

West saw the collaboration as a way to increase the accessibility of his products, having previous put out limited series at high price points with financing from the German brand Adidas -- which the rapper has also criticized in recent months.

His collection, launched in 2022, echoed West's own style -- dark, baggy clothes and variations on the hooded sweatshirt that was once Gap's signature garment.

Gap Inc also owns the Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta brands.

Fading in popularity for years, the company has closed some 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores since October 2020.

tu/mdo/dw