The collaboration between Kanye West and Balenciaga arrives in stores at the Gap as the American brand changes direction.
Will the Kanye West effect save Gap? In any case, the American brand has found a jump start. In one year, thanks to a partnership with the superstar, Gap regains some of its luster lost since the late 90s, revolutionizing its business plan, but also its organization chart. As a reminder, the CEO Sonia Syngal left her position on July 11 after failing to turn around the brand. A few days later, in a message posted on Instagram, Kanye West indicated that he had finally, for the first time, met Bob L. Martin, chairman of the company and new interim CEO of the company, as well as other leaders of Gap.
In this message, which is also the only post on her Instagram account, the star expresses her hopes for a long and prosperous collaboration while giving figures that attest to the resounding success of her investment in the company. “We had two of the biggest sales in Gap history since I've been there. Based on a TV commercial that only aired once, we sold 14 million 80 dollar black hoodies.”
Indeed, this garment which had been put on sale at the end of last September, had sold out in a few hours according to the brand which had never communicated figures. This cotton hoodie was the second creation signed "Ye" within the framework of a ten-year renewable contract signed with the American brand. Sonia Syngal, at the time, said that 70 percent of the people who bought the product had never heard of the brand before. These are staggering figures when you think that Gap had notoriously missed the boat on collaborations, the spearhead of fashion for the past fifteen years.
A billion in sales for the first year of collaboration
Artist, but also successful fashion designer with his own label Yeezy, and especially wise businessman, Kanye West knows that each of his words will be dissected. "I came to the Gap to put good products directly in the store." That sounds more like the roadmap to a broad mandate than the title of a brief collaboration. Wells Fargo financial analysts estimated on June 30, 2021, that the West-Gap partnership could bring in about 1 billion dollars in revenue in its first year. With a 50 percent markup on each Yeezy-branded product, a rate that is all the higher given that most of the clothing is sold at full price.
The red carpet rolled out by the new management teams to the star seems to confirm this prediction. Next step of this Ye magic, the first launch in physical store, this Thursday at 10 am – American time – of the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collection which was only available on digital until now. Only one point of sale for the moment: the Gap store in Times Square, the second floor of which will be entirely devoted to this event. Other stores will follow, on American territory.
The rapper got the scoop on this announcement on her Yeezy Instagram account, which features a 50-second video directed by Thyago Sainte with Betsy Johnson as creative director. A striking video: a pile of dark clothes in front of which a man dressed completely in black, his face in the dark, waits in front of a black table. A customer, also in black like his avatar figure, presents his purchase with a robotic, almost brutal gesture. The click of the scan resounds in a chilling silence. Below the video, someone comments: “I will go for the hoodie of course, but above all for the experience”. In the only Instagram post published on his personal account, Kanye West concludes: "Bob, I need to see you soon". Gap definitely has a new boss.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.