Business

Is the Yeezy Gap Jacket Really Any Good?

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The unveiling of the first Yeezy Gap jacket on June 8th, a year after the partnership between Kanye West and the ailing American basics maker was announced, went pretty much as expected.

First came the insane excitement, the letting go of all these pent-up expectations: OMG! OH MY GOD! The future is finally here. And on Kanye’s birthday!

When it became clear that the jacket could be pre-ordered, the rush was for first place. CNBC excitedly reported that it was sold out! So fast! The news went viral. It turned out to be a fake.

(In fact, the site crashed and is now available again. This is a pre-order, not a limited edition drop. There are no limited number of sales as no actual jackets have been produced. You can still purchase for six days.)

And finally the backlash: Wait a minute, the jacket made of recycled blue nylon actually looks like a garbage bag. Also a deflated balloon.

Now that 24 hours have passed and the dust has settled, maybe it is time to take a step back and think about the jacket itself: is it good? And is it likely to do what it’s supposed to do – what this whole partnership with Mr. West is supposed to do – which is to clean the blackboard, offer a fresh start, and keep Gap, which was struggling before the pandemic, cool? again?

A qualified one maybe.

The jacket itself came like a puffer from another planet, floats disembodied in the air of a Gap Instagram post or projects ghostly against buildings in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and blows slightly in the wind. It’s made from recycled nylon with a polyester filling (which it is hoped will be recycled, although a representative from Yeezy Gap didn’t provide any information; if not, that would be kind of … um). It’s unisex and oversized with a squishy, ​​tactile look and curved, tubular arms. There is a seam on the backbone and under each arm.

It doesn’t have any closures or additions of material, which can be interesting from a conceptual point of view, but a bit problematic from a functional point of view, especially when, say, you have your hands full so you can’t grab it and there is a big wind.

It also costs $ 200, which is pretty high for Gap, albeit low for Yeezy. It is called “round jacket” in Warhol fashion because it looks round.

And it’s apparently the next level of Mr. West’s new aesthetic, one that has to do with reduction and shedding of excess. (See his recent return to Paris Fashion Week, where he labeled his clothes “for the service industry,” though it was hard not to believe that the service industry he spoke of was on the planet Jakku of ” Star Wars “was set.)

Mr West had modeled his creation himself a few days earlier on the go, and the brief appearance showed how big and blanket-like the jacket that swallows his hands actually is.

To a certain extent, of course, it doesn’t matter whether the jacket is flattering or pragmatic. It’s a first, and this is a historic collaboration from both a business and a cultural point of view, so it will serve as some sort of artifact or totem. The deal between Mr. West and Gap is long-term and lucrative; Both brands are part of the history of our time in their own way. Those who pre-order quickly may pick up their jackets and find that they don’t like them at all, but they will do just fine in the secondary market. Undoubtedly, many who were trained in sneaker entrepreneurship specifically bought them for resale.

That won’t detract from Gap’s ability to boast about the jacket’s sales, though it may not set a reliable precedent for the next few drops and the drops after that. Gap is not a provider of limited resources, and of course, limited resources are the most exciting. But maybe the plan is to change all of that.

It seemed so at first because Gap deleted all of his Instagram history to simply show off the jacket like it was Day 1, a move rarely taken by an established brand as it appears to reject anything its customers previously said bought. See when Hedi Slimane got to Celine’s.

And so it seemed, because the jacket was apparently only introduced and offered in the USA.

However, it turns out that an international rollout is imminent, although Yeezy Gap wouldn’t say exactly when. So Yeezy fans outside America don’t have to think about how to get their hands on a jacket.

As for investors, Gap’s share price rose slightly on the day it was released, but not in an unusual way. (At least it didn’t go back; perhaps investors were relieved that Mr West failed to carry out his threat not to manufacture any product until he was not given a seat on the Gap board.)

But here’s the thing: cool and accessibility are opposing concepts; the more accessible and ubiquitous something becomes, the less cool. If Mr. West and Gap can change that, they will have changed a lot more than just their style and reputation; they will have changed our thinking. The actual test will come with a full collection.

Mostly because Gap recently announced another new housewares deal – with Walmart.

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Robert Dunfee