Clothing retailer Gap Inc. confirmed it is ending its partnership with Kanye West, according to a memo cited Thursday by the Wall Street Journal, following the rap and fashion megastar’s frustrations with the company.
in the memo, reportedly said the working relationship between itself and West was “not aligned.” Gap did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The decision by the retailer comes after West earlier in the day told the apparel chain he was ending the partnership between Gap and West’s Yeezy fashion line. The collaboration between the two was first announced in 2020, and they had plans to roll out new clothing under the Yeezy Gap brand.
According to the memo sent Thursday, Gap still plans to sell Yeezy Gap products that were already in the works, the Journal said. A Yeezy Gap hoodie, the first item to come from the collaboration, began selling online last year, according to the Journal.
West’s lawyers, according to the Wall Street Journal, said in a letter that Gap ran afoul of the pact after the company didn’t release clothing and open retail stores according to plan.
The Journal said that, according to a letter sent by West’s lawyers, Gap was required to sell 40% of the Yeezy Gap line in physical stores in the second half of last year.
Some items began selling this July — with the help of fashion house Balenciaga — under the name Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga, the Journal said. The letter also said Gap had to open up to five stores dedicated to West’s product line by the end of July 2023, and claimed the retailer hadn’t opened any.
Nicholas Gravante, a partner with Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft who reportedly signed that letter, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shares of Gap were unchanged after hours. The friction arrives as Gap tries to find its footing after Chief Executive Sonia Syngal stepped down in July, amid wobbling sales, higher costs and challenges within its Old Navy brand.
West, who goes by Ye, has accused Gap and shoe-maker Adidas
with which he also has a partnership, of copying his designs and being shut out of creative decisions. Adidas makes Yeezy brand footwear.
West has floated the idea of moving into retail stores himself, and in recent days signaled that his time collaborating with larger corporations could be running thin. In a Bloomberg story published on Monday, West told the outlet: “It’s time for me to go it alone. It’s fine. I made the companies money. The companies made me money.”
He added: “Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing in between me and the audience.”
West, in an interview with CNBC on Thursday, said it was “always a dream of mine to be at the Gap and to bring the best product possible to the masses.” But he cited lack of control over prices, design and said the company “ignored us about building stores.”
When asked about Gap’s leadership change and whether it could regain its relevance, West told CNBC: “Don’t bring a leader in and have them not lead.”
He added: “I’m not going to argue with people that are broker than me about money.”