Gap Inc. has taken legal action against Kanye West, suing him for $2 million due to an alleged breach of contract. The fashion retailer announced the lawsuit approximately eight months after their collaboration with West’s Yeezy line came to an abrupt end.
The partnership between Gap and Yeezy, unveiled in 2020, was set to span a decade, with the potential for a five-year renewal option, and aimed to generate $1 billion in annual sales. However, it faltered, leading to mutual accusations of unfulfilled obligations.
The basis of Gap’s lawsuit against West originated from another legal dispute involving the retailer. Court documents reveal that Art City Center, a real estate company that owned a Los Angeles building leased by Gap as a storefront for the Yeezy line, sued the retailer for nonpayment.
Art City Center alleges that Gap made substantial modifications to the property for the Yeezy store but failed to restore it to its original condition. Consequently, Gap seeks compensation from West to cover the expenses incurred by Art City Center, along with additional fees.
During the partnership, both parties traded blame over alleged creative and contractual shortcomings. Only two products were released in the first 18 months, exclusively for online sales.
In May 2022, the “Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga” line debuted, featuring 36 high-end styles created in collaboration with the luxury designer. However, prices for the line’s cheapest items, such as t-shirts, began at $140, considerably higher than Gap’s regular offerings.
Furthermore, controversy arose when the line was displayed at a Gap store in Times Square, with clothes haphazardly placed in apparent garbage bags throughout the premises.
Following the announcement of the partnership, Gap’s stock prices initially surged by approximately 40%. However, by the fall of 2022, sales had declined by about 10% compared to the previous year.
Gap attributes this decline, at least in part, to West’s alleged failure to fulfill his contractual obligations, while West asserts that the brand inadequately promoted and marketed his line.
The legal battle between Gap and Kanye West underscores the challenges faced in their collaboration, which ultimately failed to achieve the envisioned success.