With everything else that’s occurred in the world of Kanye West since last June, it’d be understandable if you’d forgotten about his upcoming collaboration with Gap altogether. After all, it was followed by a failed presidential run, a
multibillion-dollar evaluation, a documentary announcement, a divorce announcement, a disgruntled former protégé and a multimillion-dollar lawsuit by a literal chorus of disgruntled former employees.
But apparently, none of the above has affected sales of Ye’s luxe sportswear line Yeezy—or deterred Gap from betting on the rapper to revive its own flagging sales and brand identity. This week, the retailer announced that the 10-year collaboration, which boasts Nigerian-British female designer Mowalola Ogunlesi as its design director, will debut almost a year to the date of its initial announcement, hitting stores in late June. As Business of Fashion reported, “Gap desperately needs this collaboration to succeed. It’s closed stores, sold brands and cut costs, but that alone won’t begin to reverse two decades of declining sales and fading cultural relevance.”
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Yeezy is a big, big swing at putting Gap back in the fashion conversation, and the company hasn’t been coy about the line’s importance to the brand’s future. The company expects revenue from the line to top $150 million in 2022, its first full year, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. That projection is, if anything, conservative: Adidas sold $1.7 billion in Yeezy sneakers last year, according to Bloomberg.
As Bloomberg further notes, Yeezy itself has been valued at $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion by UBS Group AG, a dollar amount which memorably threw off Forbes’ valuation of Kanye’s personal worth earlier this year. “The value of the new Gap tie-up, which will hit stores this summer, could be worth as much as $970 million of that total, the bank estimated,” Bloomberg reports.
Without the prohibitive price point attached to Yeezy’s existing line, no doubt the collaboration will prove immensely successful—though the jury is still out on whether that boon will benefit Gap’s core collection, as well. If not, it may prove even more fortuitous for the rapper, who not only worked at a Gap during his high school years in Chicago, but told Vogue during a 2015 interview (h/t Page Six):
“One of my dreams was to be the head creative director of the Gap. I’d like to be the Steve Jobs of the Gap … I’m not talking about a capsule. I’m talking about full … creative control of the Gap is what I would like to do.”
With that in mind, Gap may end up a devil in a new dress.