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Ye’s venture with the GAP has proven to be successful after a shaky start back in 2020 as rumors circulated that the long-time retailer was displeased with the lack of items available to the public when, supposedly, an entire collection was developed during the summer of 2020. After a year, the public got their first taste of Yeezy GAP with the $200 Round Jacket in three colors (Blue, Black, and Red) and a six-pack of “Perfect Hoodies” at a reasonable $90.
While the original Design Director of Yeezy GAP, Mowalola Ogunlesi, had only a year-long stay at the brand, she was on the team during this time of turmoil and ultimately didn’t extend her contract to stay, though her replacement, Leonardo Lawson, has tightened up the design process acted as a liaison for Yeezy and GAP. Ye’s process of creating usually travels with him across the globe as his design team will work alongside whatever project the multi-hyphenate star is focusing on. That was an issue for the GAP line and Lawson was able to open a dedicated Yeezy GAP office in LA and streamline the design process
This is where Demna enters the picture. Working with Ye previously on his Yeezy Season line, co-founding Vetements, and becoming the Creative Director of Balenciaga, he has stayed in contact with Ye over the years and often discussed their creative processes. During one of their conversations in 2021, Ye expressed that it was his dream to work with Demna to help “...bring this know-how to the brand, bring the structure; fittings, atelier, patternmaker…” as the Yeezy GAP design process was unorthodox during this period.
So Demna went to work even though he was busy with his own job at Balenciaga. Prototype pieces were developed at the Balenciaga studios in Paris and Zurich where Demna would send images to Ye and then GAP and Yeezy would industrialize them. The collection was announced in January of 2022 and soft-launched in person at the Donda 2 Listening Party in Miami a month later while the online drop took place just a day later to much fanfare. A promise of a full collection was fulfilled just a few months later when a large range of items made their way online.
After a post on Instagram demanding to meet with one of the executes at GAP and discuss in-store releases, the Times Square flagship store was taken over by Yeezy GAP Engineered by Balenciaga, stripped down to its most essential form by making consumers dig through nylon bags of assorted sizes of 6 core pieces. Shortly after, approximately 50 GAP locations across the US started selling products in stores in a similar fashion on top of three mobile van pop-ups in LA, Chicago, and Miami. While these all included pieces previously released, a second part to the collection, including rumored footwear styles, is expected later in the year, though according to Demna, Balenciaga’s partnership with Yeezy GAP has now ended.
In addition to future inline Yeezy GAP releases, there are plans for more engineered by XYZ collaborations in the future, though at the time of this writing, it is unknown what other brands or designers may step forward and provide their tasteful touch to the utilitarian collection. The GAP brand itself is still struggling with stock prices plummeting, stores closing, and their CEO stepping down recently, yet, Yeezy GAP continues to generate buzz and sales that indicate the project is a success, though we’ll have to wait and see what the partnership has in store for us. For more updates on Ye’s venture with GAP and more in the sneaker and streetwear world, keep it locked to our Twitter and the Sole Retriever mobile app.