Gap Signs Deal for A Kanye West Line -- WSJ
By Suzanne Kapner
This article is being republished as part of our daily
reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S.
print edition of The Wall Street Journal (June 27, 2020).
Gap Inc. is betting that the perfect hoodie and other clothes
designed by music and fashion impresario Kanye West will help pull
it out of its yearslong slump.
The casual-clothing retailer is teaming up with Mr. West's
fashion brand Yeezy on a collection called Yeezy Gap that will
debut next year, according to the companies. Yeezy will receive
royalties and potential equity based on meeting sales targets.
News of the arrangement sent Gap's battered shares surging
roughly 30% in Friday trading. The gain added more than $1 billion
to the company's market capitalization. The stock is still down
more than 25% year to date.
Mr. West, who has 21 Grammy awards and whose Yeezy fashion brand
had a tie-up with Nike Inc. and currently has one with Adidas AG,
has talked about wanting to partner with Gap in various interviews
over the years. He worked in a Gap store while growing up in
Chicago and even rapped about the retailer in his 2004 song
"I believe that Yeezy is the McDonald's and the Apple of
apparel," Mr. West told The Wall Street Journal in March. "In order
to make the Apple of apparel the next Gap, it has to be a new
invention. To invent something that's so good that you don't even
get credit for it because it's the norm."
Gap rose to fame in the 1990s by dressing a generation of
Americans in its khakis and T-shirts, but has since been overtaken
by fast-fashion chains and new e-commerce players. Its sales have
declined each year since 2013, dragging down results at parent Gap
Inc., where its new chief executive, Sonia Syngal, is trying to
fashion a turnaround in the middle of a pandemic.
Ms. Syngal told the Journal in May that she is using the
upheaval created by the coronavirus pandemic "to refashion the
company for what we want it to look like over the next 50
Mr. West, who is married to media phenom and entrepreneur Kim
Kardashian West, has long held fashion aspirations. In 2009, he
interned at the Italian fashion house Fendi. His high-end line of
Yeezy sneakers for Adidas, first introduced in 2015, are released
in limited quantities and quickly sell out. In contrast, the Yeezy
Gap collection will be widely distributed in stores around the
world and online.
As recently as 2018, he had hoped to become artistic director of
Louis Vuitton menswear. After some false starts, Yeezy returned to
the fashion runway this year with a show in Paris that garnered
At Yeezy's Cody, Wyo., studio, Mr. West has been working on
perfecting the hoodie. His version is chunky and slightly cropped
at the waist. "The hoodie is arguably the most important piece of
apparel of the last decade," Mr. West told the Journal in
A version of the hoodie -- along with T-shirts and jeans for
men, women and children -- will be available beginning next year.
Prices will be in line with Gap's other offerings, according to a
Brands are increasingly teaming up with musicians and other
celebrities as they struggle to stay relevant. Last year, the
singer Rihanna partnered with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE
to create a new label called Fenty, while Lady Gaga signed a deal
with Amazon.com Inc. to create a beauty collection for the online
Gap Inc., which also owns the Old Navy and Banana Republic
brands, swung to a $932 million loss in the three months to May 2,
a period when 90% of its more than 3,300 stores around the world
were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sales fell 43% to $2
As stores reopen, Gap is squabbling with landlords, including
Simon Property Group, the country's largest mall owner, over unpaid
rent. Even before the pandemic, the Gap brand had been closing
stores and analysts expect it to shrink further.
Write to Suzanne Kapner at Suzanne.Kapner@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 27, 2020 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)
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