Kanye West is bringing his Yeezy brand to Gap, in a multi-year deal that could revive the ailing brand.
West, a singer, producer, entrepreneur and fashion designer, is known for his line of pricey Yeezy sneakers with Adidas. West will design affordable adult and kids clothing for Gap, according to a joint press release from the companies.
Yeezy, which was valued at $2.9 billion in April, will receive royalties and potential equity based on sales targets, the companies said in the press release.
“We are excited to welcome Kanye back to the Gap family as a creative visionary, building on the aesthetic and success of his Yeezy brand and together defining a next-level retail partnership,” said Mark Breitbard, global head of Gap Brand, in a press release.
The collaboration comes as Gap brand sales continue to fall as it loses relevance with shoppers in the era of e-commerce and fast fashion. The company was once an icon for teen and young adult shoppers finding a niche in offering classic casual wear. But the company has had difficulty finding an identity in the changing world of fashion where street style has taken a turn for a more unique and modern twist.
The brand’s sales have declined year over year since 2013 as some of Gap Inc.’s other brands — Old Navy and Athleta — have soared. Sales for Gap’s namesake brand were down 50 percent in the first quarter this year compared to the same time last year, due to temporary store closures.
Gap brand’s parent company Gap Inc. is feuding with landlords over unpaid rent and is expected to close additional stores. Simon Property Group sued the company in early June over $65.9 million in unpaid rent.
Sonia Syngal, who is credited for rapidly growing the Old Navy brand, took over as CEO in March and has said she is looking to overhaul the brand.
“Gap has benefited from its high brand awareness and deep emotional customer connection,” she told investors in June. “However, years of inconsistent execution have depleted brand health, which we're actively working to correct by defining clear brand positioning and product filters that translate to a narrower and deeper assortment that delivers to the customer.”
On Friday, West tweeted a photo of what the line might look like — bright casual wear. West previously mentioned aspirations to work with the brand. He worked in a Gap store as a teen growing up in Chicago and mentions the brand in a song called “Spaceships.” He told Vanity Fair magazine in 2015 that he wanted to be creative director of the brand.
“I say things like I want to be creative director for the Gap, but I just got to give credit to the people who do creative direction at the Gap,” he said.
Gap shares increased by 34 percent in early morning trading after the news was announced.