Remember those Gap 1969 sweatshirts your mom used to buy you back in middle school? Since then, the iconic American brand has maintained a steady presence in shopping malls, remaining a consistent resource for jeans, khakis and business casual fits. Gap was always a safe, middle-of-the-market clothing choice for non-fashion risk takers. Gap has never been known for cool streetwear attire — until now.
The retailer is teaming up with Kanye West for a new clothing line called YEEZY Gap, which is expected to launch in 2021. The news went viral when West unveiled a giant hand-written note on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue store. In it, he said, “Hi Chicago, it’s Ye. This is the Gap store I used to shop at when I would drive my Nissan from the Southside, so blessed.” The unveiling dropped major hints, brewing the mystery of what was to come.
This collaboration is (surprisingly) a great fit for West, who worked in a Chicago Gap store during his teen years. “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,” Mark Breitbard, Global Head of Gap Brand, wrote in a press release.
— ye (@kanyewest) June 26, 2020
West has always been a major fan of the hoodie, something Gap is also notoriously known for since its start. As athleisure wear becomes the new normal during and likely even after the pandemic, the timing of this announcement is a win-win for both Gap and West alike. The rapper-turned-fashion-designer always wanted to create clothing for the masses but was forced into the luxury market. His creative plan is to make “modern, elevated basics for men, women, and kids at accessible price points.” Kanye signed off on a 10-year partnership, saving the brand from a stock plummet and identity crisis.
As a luxury streetwear brand, YEEZY is culturally relevant to modern day music, footwear, fashion, and design. We can expect the YEEZY Gap collab to follow suit, giving street cred and a whole new audience to a brand that lost its way. While we’re excited for the extremely minimal and affordable clothing to drop next year, we’re also counting on a plethora of references in his next album of how he made Taylor the Gap #famous again.
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