Balenciaga joins Yeezy Gap in latest Kanye West collab

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Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga will launch in June, bringing one of the hottest luxury names to Yeezy’s ongoing relationship with the once-beleaguered American retailer

Yeezy is bringing Balenciaga to the masses by way of a new collection designed for American mall retailer Gap.

After months of hype and hints at the growing friendship between creative impresario Kanye West and Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia, the two have announced an artistic partnership that builds on the emerging collaborate-and-drop business model that has lately been creating buzz for a string of fashion brands. The big beneficiary for this one may be American fashion brand the Gap.

Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga, announced on Friday, is expected to drop its first pieces in June. The Yeezy Gap brand said the collaboration continues the commitment of Ye, as West prefers to be called, “to delivering his vision of utilitarian design for all.” 

Balenciaga joins Yeezy Gap in latest Kanye West collab 

While the brands gave no indication of the looks to be produced, that joint concept for the two designers is more cohesive than many recent logo-heavy partnerships between disparate brands and personalities, such as 2021’s Fendace (Fendi + Versace), Gucci + Balenciaga, and Fendi’s ongoing collaboration with Skims, a brand founded by West’s soon-to-be-ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. Gvasalia got his start launching the coyly named Vetements (“clothing” in French), which originally repurposed utilitarian clothing such as thrift-store denim and DHL delivery workers’ uniforms. West, who worked at Gap as a teenager, has said he remains obsessed by its mass reach, as he also is with Costco.

Yeezy Gap

Both creators have proven to be agile marketers and skilled at building social hype. For months, West has been wearing Balenciaga, slipping Balenciaga designs into his performances, been photographed shopping at its boutiques, dressing Kardashian in it, and even recently dressed actress Julia Fox in the brand for their second date after providing a room full of clothes from which to choose. Those appearances are likely to be carefully choreographed. West and Gap used the same approach when launching the Yeezy Gap collection, with Ye appearing in the original circle puffer shortly before each drop in series of colors, starting with blue, and moving on to red and black.

Balenciaga topped the Lyst Index as the hottest brand in the third quarter of 2021, with a 505 per cent increase in searches, overtaking fellow Kering-owned power brand Gucci. It’s now lending its luxury cachet to Gap, which is betting on the Ye connection to bolster its relevance among young consumers. When the Yeezy Gap partnership was initially announced last year, Gap Inc. stocks jumped by nearly 25 per cent in intraday trading. The latest announcement had little impact on Gap’s stock price as of early Friday morning, with the stock price steady at $18.30. Still, the tie-up will undoubtedly bring additional cultural currency and kudos to the mass market retailer.

The product-drop model followed by Yeezy Gap and the new Balenciaga collaboration serves to drive virality and buzz as well as an after-market halo effect. While only a few Yeezy Gap items, including a $200 puffer jacket, have gone on sale, they’ve quickly sold out and then appeared on resale sites including StockX at high markups. Last June, after the Yeezy Gap collectionwas announced, Ye told Vogue Business that he aspires to mass-produce relatively high quality pieces to bring them to a larger audience at an affordable price. That business model follows the original Yeezy Adidas strategy, which saw that brands shoes sell out quickly, then appreciate in value on secondary markets, building brand value and goodwill for Adidas and Yeezy.

Demna Balenciaga

Balenciaga is now joining that movement. Demna is often credited with bringing streetwear aesthetics and a nonconformist, viral approach to the luxury space with his signature satirical slogan t-shirts and hoodies. “I’ve always appreciated the utilitarianism and the accessibility of Gap,” Demna told Vogue on Friday. “I share some of the same sensibilities in my creative language. This project allowed me to join forces [with Ye] to create utilitarian fashion for all.”

Demna and Ye first joined forces in August 2021. Balenciaga created a merch line for the rapper’s latest album, Donda, with Demna creatively overseeing the listening events. Rumours have been circling of further collaborations between the two artists for months. Collaborations have become a fashion mainstay: last year saw a steady stream of crossovers between luxury players, from Fendace to Jean Paul Gaultier x Sacai to the Gucci-Balenciaga hacking project. The hacking project collection, which debuted in April 2021, was drenched in logos, combining iconic styling and silhouettes from both Kering brands. Balenciaga is no stranger to collaborations: in 2021 the brand instigated a number of unexpected partnerships, from Crocs to Fortnite

While surprising collaborations prove commercially lucrative and create excitement for the consumer, experts say the biggest challenge is to prevent either brand’s creative vision from becoming diluted.

So far, Ye has been able to pull off unexpected collaborations that draw massive media attention. On Instagram on Friday, he teased the collection by sharing a segment of a legal document that reached more than 800,000 likes by Monday. The response: strings of mind-blown and fire emojis.

Written by:

Christina Binkley for Vogue Business

With additional reporting by Maliha Shoaib| All Rights Reserved

  #Balenciaga joins Yeezy Gap in latest Kanye West collab  

#Balenciaga joins Yeezy Gap in latest Kanye West collab  

#Balenciaga joins Yeezy Gap in latest Kanye West collab  

#Balenciaga joins Yeezy Gap in latest Kanye West collab 

  #Balenciaga joins Yeezy Gap in latest Kanye West collab 

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