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Dive Brief:

  • Taking its first step into physical retail, Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga products are now available for purchase at Gap’s Times Square flagship location in New York City, according to an emailed press release.
  • Starting Saturday, the collaboration will roll out to more Gap locations in the U.S., with the goal of selling the product at a larger scale, per the release. Gap also promoted a mobile Yeezy Gap video game for the announcement on Instagram.
  • The news comes after Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) filed trademark applications for retail stores called YZYSPLY at the end of last month, indicating an interest in selling his standalone Yeezy brand at physical locations.

Dive Insight:

When the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collaboration was announced in January, it made news for its combination of the high-end fashion from Ye and Balenciaga Artistic Director Demna with the more casual reputation of Gap. A step into physical retail locations shows that the group intends to reach a larger audience with the new sales channel.

Gap’s flagship Times Square location was also altered for the launch. “Gap’s Times Square flagship store has been reengineered and distilled to its most essential form in Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga’s vision of utilitarian design,” according to the press release. 

Gap's Time Square flagship featuring Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga

Courtesy of Yeezy Gap

 

Along with the physical launch, Gap created a mobile video game specifically for the collaboration. The game consists of choosing an avatar’s appearance and Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga outfit. Players then fly through the sky to hit birds — therefore winning points — by moving the phone side to side. A gif of the players’s avatar is then generated with a final score to share on social media.

Gap Inc. has had an eventful year, with its CEO Sonia Syngal leaving the company this month and its Old Navy brand’s CEO Nancy Green exiting in April. The company has been struggling with high prices for raw materials and freight, lowering its Q2 adjusted operating margin percentage to be zero or slightly negative.

Bringing this collection to stores is sensible, but it’s not a straight shot to fixing the company’s issues, according to emailed comments from GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders.

“At this stage, it is almost as if Gap wants to become cool again by associating with the popular kid. Just as that rarely works in high school, so it rarely works in fashion. To be successful, Gap needs to develop a relevant and compelling identity of its own,” he said. “And that means not just partnering with Ye, but ensuring their very traditional corporate culture embraces some of the creativity that he and his business embodies.”



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