Yeezy Gap on Friday announced "Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga," an effort that combines the talents of Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), and Balenciaga Artistic Director Demna, (formerly known as Demna Gvasalia), who has held that role for the last seven years.
Items from the collaboration will be available globally this year along with other Yeezy Gap releases, according to an email from Yeezy Gap.
The first drop from the three-way effort is scheduled for June, a Yeezy Gap spokesperson said via email.
Ye and Demna are looping Gap into their working relationship, which began last year when Ye tapped Demna to direct events related to his "Donda" release. As Vogue's Steff Yotka noted in August, the two may have collaborated even before that on other Yeezy releases.
"This first of its kind launch sees Ye's peerless vision bring together the most influential designer of his generation, Demna, with iconic American brand, Gap," Yeezy Gap said on Friday.
While the dark, spacey visions of Demna and Ye overlap and might seem to run counter to the breezy basics vibe at Gap, they each have trod on Gap's territory.
For example, Demna's "garments are uncannily redone versions of 'normal' things like tracksuits, dad jeans, and puffer jackets rendered to the most luxurious degree," Yotka wrote last year. "With Yeezy, West has a similar mission, making 'essential' items like leggings, bombers, and tees into purposeful garments with an unusual vibe, an idea he's extending with his ongoing partnership with the Gap. And depending on what rumors you believe, they've even worked together in the past, either on Yeezy season one or Yeezy season three."
It may be that "an unusual vibe" is needed to coax Gap out of the doldrums. If that's what Gap leadership is after, they seem to have ceded the effort to Ye and the Yeezy Gap project. So far, executives have said that many Yeezy Gap customers are new to the brand, with many of those skewing younger than Gap's typical customer, and that they are pleased with the collaboration. But they have provided few concrete details and did not factor the sub-brand's contribution into their revenue expectations for the fiscal year.
"Gap doesn't seem to have a great grip on the Yeezy partnership, and this communication makes it look like Yeezy is the primary partner in the relationship," GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders said by email.