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Why Kanye West is splitting with the Gap

Updated September 15, 2022 at 1:27 PM ET

NEW YORK — Kanye West says he's breaking up with the Gap.

An attorney for Kanye West, who goes by Ye, told The Associated Press that a letter has been sent to the clothing chain Thursday seeking to terminate the contract between Gap and West's company, Yeezy.

The clash comes a little over a year after Yeezy's first item— a blue puffer jacket — appeared in Gap stores. The deal was announced in June 2020.

In the letter that West's lawyer shared with The AP on Thursday, it said that Gap failed to meet obligations in the pact, including distributing merchandise to Gap store locations and creating dedicated YZY Gap stores.

"Gap left Ye no choice but to terminate their collaboration agreement because of Gap's substantial noncompliance," said Nicholas Gravante, West's attorney with Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, in an emailed statement to the AP. "Ye had diligently tried to work through these issues with Gap both directly and through counsel. He has gotten nowhere."

Gravante said that Gap's failure to comply with the terms of the contract has been costly. He said West plans to begin opening Yeezy retail stores.

West has unleashed criticism on social media against Gap as well as Adidas AG where he has a similar deal. Adidas declined to comment. Gap didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The San Francisco retailer had been hoping the partnership with West would resonate with customers in a period of declining sales. For Yeezy, being in more than 1,100 Gap stores worldwide would have put his brand in front of more people.

West has had a history with Gap. He worked at one of its stores in Chicago as a teenager. And he told Vanity Fair magazine back in 2015 that he wanted to be creative director for the brand.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press