The slow rollout of Kanye West's Yeezy Gap brand is reportedly causing frustration at Gap.
Sources familiar with the matter told the FT that West has the final say on the collection.
West has reportedly struggled to keep products below $100 and maintain the quality he wants.
Kanye West's collaboration with Gap is reportedly causing angst at the apparel giant.
Two sources with knowledge of the business told the Financial Times that the company is becoming frustrated at the rate at which the Yeezy Gap collection has been rolled out.
When the collaboration was announced in June 2020, Gap said that the first Yeezy Gap pieces would launch in 2020, followed by a full collection of apparel and accessories in 2021. So far, just two items have launched.
According to the FT, West has the final say over the collection. One of the reasons it has been slower than expected is because West has struggled to keep products under the $100 price point that he stipulated while maintaining the quality he wants, the paper's two sources said. Gap has also made changes to fit around West's busy schedule, including moving its support teams from Cody, Wyoming to Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Insider reached out to Gap and West for comment but did not immediately receive a reply. Representatives for the two declined to comment when contacted by the FT.
So far, Gap has provided limited details about the success of the partnership.
When it announced the deal with West, its shares soared as much as 42% as investors saw it as a chance for the brand to reinvent itself with younger consumers after years of sliding sales. The hope was that West could do for Gap what he did for Adidas. West created a sneaker line with Adidas that achieved rapid success, reaching $1.7 billion in annual sales in six years, according to Forbes estimates.
But some industry insiders have been skeptical about whether the collaboration would work. Retail veteran Mickey Drexler – who was CEO of Gap between 1992 and 2002 – said in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live in August that he didn't think the partnership between West and Gap would benefit either party.
"I told him he shouldn't do the deal because it doesn't make any sense in my opinion," Drexler said, recalling an earlier conversation with West. "It doesn't work for someone like Kanye. He is not a corporate person and Gap is a big corporation.
"He is a smart guy but he shouldn't have done it. And I don't think they [Gap] should have done it, either," he said.
Still, some experts say that while it might not necessarily have the same commercial benefits as the Adidas deal, the collaboration with West is helping to create a buzz around a brand that has been increasingly accused of losing relevance.
"It's a win from the PR side and a question mark on the commercial side," Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData, told the FT. "It doesn't have the coherence of being a true commercial operation, [but] that might be completely deliberate."
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