On June 26th, rapper and fashion designer Kanye West announced a major 10-year deal with Gap to bring his iconic aesthetic to mainstream retail customers. Following the enormous success of Yeezy + Adidas, West has shown an uncanny ability to resurrect stumbling commercial brands. After the initial launch of the Adidas Yeezy line in 2015, sales grew by $2 billion in one quarter.
“Not only [have the Yeezy’s] sold out instantly but [they have] also played a major role in propelling Adidas to the most popular sneaker brand on Instagram in 2015.” Adidas commenting on the Kanye West partnership.
Since 2015, Adidas has rebranded itself as a leading style and cultural force, focusing on original offerings and streetwear. But can Gap expect to see a similar turnaround, both in terms of sales and market share? HEADLINE takes a closer look below at where the (Gap/West) partnership stands and what information has been made available thus far.
First, a quote by West, foreshadowing his eventual dive into mass-produced consumer fashion:
“And I don’t want to use my message to have kids saving up that much, you know, to be part of what the ideas are.That’s the problem to me with luxury. I don’t agree with everything that H&M and Zara does, but one thing that’s good is they were able to break that idea that creativity and things you want have to cost, like, a million dollars.” Kanye West in 2013, sharing his thoughts on Power 106’s Big Boy Neighborhood.
West makes it clear in this statement that his plan for a full-scale clothing line would heavily lean into the affordable-fashion segment of the market. A partnership with a major brand like Gap was essential for this aspiration of his to become a reality–both in terms of manufacturing and achieving the optimal price point. So what prices are the Gap/West collaborators targeting?
While no concrete numbers have been provided, there’s a great deal of data that can be gleaned from the YEEZY + Adidas deal and from Gap’s own catalogue. For example, Adidas Ultraboost, a performance sneaker, retails for $180. The Yeezy Boost 350 V2 by Adidas boast a recommended retail markup of $220. That price boost comes out to roughly a 25% increase for the YEEZY name and brand.
Now to look at Gap, where West has emphasized that his line will offer everyday staples like hoodies, sweats, t-shirts, etc. The Gap namesake hoodies run $50 pre-discount. Gap utility joggers retail for $80. If the price structure employed by West at Adidas is replicated, then retail shoppers can expect to pay $60 for YEEZY hoodies and roughly $100 for YEEZY joggers. Gap logo t-shirts retail for $30; the YEEZY t-shirts would theoretically retail for $40 and up.
While Kanye West has been relatively tight-lipped about the Gap partnership thus far, his most recent statement on Twitter addresses their ongoing relationship.
“I DONT HAVE A BOARD SEAT AT GAP I DONT HAVE A BOARD SEAT AT ADIDAS … BLACK BOARD SEATS MATTER.”
While the above statement by West might be perceived as friction between the two brands, it’s worth noting that he has been taking an active role in promoting black causes while he continues to pursue his presidential aspirations. Check back for YZY + GAP updates as the line gets closer to it’s 2021 launch.