GAP T Shirt by Ye

Gap Meets Ye

The fashion collection many have been waiting for has dropped. The Gap, Ye and Balenciaga collaboration debuted. My first impression. Grim. Misshapen. It took a “genius” to design this!

The Players

Kayne and Gap announced a 10 year partnership in June 2020. For one side the deal made commercial sense, while for the other, a throw of the dice hoping for a lucky double 6 retail turnaround.

It has been no secret the San Francisco based casual wear retailer has been in trouble for a long time. Once a closet staple Gap became a bit boring. Hail Mary Plays are always risking. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Gap has been closing stores for decades. Once upon a time the American Mall mainstay had the pulse of what buyers wanted, cool ads, colorful jeans at good prices yet somewhere the retailer lost its way as Zara took the style trendsetting crown. Turning to the headline grabber Ye confirmed what fashion insiders knew, Gap was rudderless, looking for a Captain.

The always in the media Rapper Kanye West or Ye needs no introduction. If a person has not heard about his fashion ambition, maybe they were visiting Mars for the past fifteen years. Virgil Abloh was a Ye collaborator before becoming creative head of Louis Vuitton menswear. West with Adidas netted billionaires from their sneaker collection collaboration.

The storied French fashion house Balenciaga run by Demma Gvasalia brings chic continental creditability to this “creative exploration”.

Not Your Parents GAP

Gap YE Hoodie
Gap Hoodie at $320

The moment arrived on Monday 26th. Finally, buyers and fans got to see, touch and purchase the first pieces. According to the New York Times article “Is this partnership a cautionary tale or a new model for fashion to come?” The 36 engineered pieces by Balenciaga are a technical revision of classic Gap styled hoodies and t-shirts.

The Gap’s 1960’s California optimistic heritage has been replaced by cheerless style gear.

The Gap Times Square store was re-designed with a dark interior with clothing piled on a table as if in a backstreet vintage shop. Just have at it. No, this is not a joke. Not even racks or neatly folded shirt stacks. Imagine a going out of business sale at Woolworth’s.

Some in the fashion press have been going Goo Goo Ga Ga over this spectacle. Not here. Is this collection a joke? Making fun of buyers who fall the gag.

The die hard fans waiting outside before the store opening in New York City to be the first to buy pieces with the appeal of a bleak video game character. Being hip in the fake til you make it culture comes at a price. Gap built its brand on affordability, suddenly, a $320 for a hoodie, $190 dove print t-shirt.


Was it worth it? It depends on who you ask. For Ye, another notch on the belt to becoming fashion mogul. As for for Gap, the retailer needs all the attention it can get. All the recent headlines have been bad. Who gets excited about their namesake Khaki Pants? Balenciaga sent out the word, their part in this trio is done. A merciful “Thank You” to Paris.

Is this fashion’s future or present reality? Sometimes it is better to just back and watch situations unfold from a sideline.

Lastly, if I go to a Gap store, I’ll stick to the basic white t for $15.