Together, Ye and Demna are “making cool clothes accessible for many.” Photo: Mert and Marcus; Willy Vanderperre
Are you ready for this? Friends and collaborators Ye and Demna, who until recently went by their full names Kanye West and Demna Gvasalia, are joining forces for a project at Gap. “It is a vision come true to work with Gap and Demna, the creative director of Balenciaga, to make incredible product available to everyone at all times,” Ye told Vogue.
The collection brings together the world famous rapper and creative and the hottest high fashion brand on the planet right now via the ubiquitous American retailer. Demna’s debut couture collection for Balenciaga last July was universally lauded as a triumph, and for a ready-to-wear follow-up, he partnered on a mini-episode of The Simpsons, complete with a Paris red carpet premiere. Ye, meanwhile, signed a giant 10-year deal with Gap in 2020, and though only a couple of items have been released so far, it’s attracted off-the-charts levels of attention. When it first went on sale last summer, the US $200 Round Jacket crashed Gap’s website and instantly sold out. Now, there’s a red one on offer at the resaler Goat.com for US $7,800.
Collaborations have become the lingua franca of the fashion world—see Fendi and Versace’s Fendace mashup; indeed, see Balenciaga and Gucci’s fall 2021 “hacking” activation. But Ye and Demna see this differently. Officially, the project is called Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga.
If that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, it won’t be long before it does. Because, come on, Balenciaga at Gap prices! Demna clarifies: “This is a very different challenge. I’ve always appreciated the utilitarianism and the accessibility of Gap. 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.”
Ye and Demna’s sensibilities have long been aligned. Demna says, “there’s a certain urban minimalism and poetry in our aesthetics, [and] also a desire to push boundaries.” But in the last few months the two have been priming the “Engineered by” pump. Demna creative-directed the stage sets and livestreams of Ye’s recent Donda listening events in Atlanta and Chicago and designed the t-shirt merch sold at them. Ye, for his part, has become Balenciaga’s biggest client. Just six days ago he was spotted at the brand’s Miami boutique with armfuls of shopping bags.
The Yeezy Gap logo Photo: Courtesy of Yeezy Gap
The first Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga drop is expected in June, with a second later in the year. And—who knows?—maybe there will be more down the line. Says Demna: “There are very few people that I know, especially of Ye’s caliber, who really understand my work so well. He makes me come out of my comfort zone and be a better designer. There’s no ego when we collaborate, just a mutual drive to evolve and do something great and new.”
Read Next: “It’s necessary for fashion’s survival:” Demna on Bringing Couture Back at Balenciaga
Originally published on Vogue.com