Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga has introduced a virtual game experience designed by Demna.
The game concept brings to life the virtually rendered avatars first seen in the collection’s debut earlier this year.
The game allows the user to become the avatar and is available to play now on yeezygap.com. It is a mobile-only experience.
As reported, starting Thursday morning, the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collection was sold for the first time at Gap Times Square, and will roll out to many other Gap stores on Saturday. Vans selling the merchandise were also scheduled to hit Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles on Saturday.
The Gap’s entire second floor was reimagined in a blacked-out space with the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga product and the video game projected on the walls. Piles of clothing were stuffed in massive bins, as customers combed through the products on Thursday. A line had formed outside the store awaiting entrance.
That collection is also available at yeezygap.com, balenciaga.com and Balenciaga’s online partners, Farfetch.com, Mytheresa.com and Luisaviaroma.com.
Ye — formerly Kanye West — introduced the Gap retail store news Wednesday night on his new Instagram account, @yeezy, by showing a 50-second silent video distilling the essence of a retail transaction. In front of a mountain of clothing, a hooded and masked figure brings a product to another hooded masked figure, who scans the item and the customer leaves with the product. The video was directed by Thyago Sainte with creative direction by Betsy Johnson. The models in the video are Owen Kasparian and Antoine Groun.
The entry into Gap stores signals the vision to deliver Yeezy Gap design on a larger scale.
One analyst applauded the move of bringing the collection into Gap stores, but feels Gap still has a long way to go.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, a data analytics and consulting company, said, “As a way of injecting some energy into an otherwise tired and jaded company, Gap’s partnership with Yeezy is sensible. The online drops from the collaboration have, to date, been highly successful and have been something of breath of fresh air when contrasted with Gap’s rather stale core offer.
“Although it has been a long time coming, taking the collection into physical stores is the next logical step. This will allow Yeezy Gap to showcase a more coherent offer and allow consumers to experience the brand in a more immersive way. If executed properly, it should also help resolve one of the big problems for Gap, which has been an inability to encourage people into stores. Although this will only work in the handful of stores where this is implemented,” he said.
“Despite all of this, Gap needs to be clear that the excitement is primarily generated by Yeezy and by Ye and not by its own nameplate. Gap cannot use the collaboration as an excuse for not reforming its own brand image and its assortment — which is a move that is desperately overdue. Unfortunately, we still see very little evidence of movement on this front.
“This is where the Yeezy Gap collaboration falls down,” Saunders said. “It will generate revenue and interest in and of itself, but there is scant evidence that Gap is using it as a springboard to revitalize its wider business. In our view, this is a lost opportunity. It also follows the Gap playbook of having a disjointed vision that consists of seemingly random initiatives rather than having an integrated, coherent plan.
“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. 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,” Saunders said.