There has been much buzz about GAP since it was revealed that Kanye West (the artist now known as Ye) signed a long-term deal. This gave birth to the Yeezy GAP line, of which it took almost a year for the first piece–which was the puffer jacket.
For 2022, Yeezy GAP finally released a more substantial collection–this time being Engineered by Balenciaga–to coincide with the release of the rather elusive DONDA 2 album. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to cop something from the collection (I got the Dove Longsleeve Tee) at retail via the Yeezy GAP site.
While it’s ecstatic for me to grab a Yeezy GAP piece for retail, the catch was that I had to wait for over two months before it got shipped to me. It’s a long wait, but my hunch is that Ye wanted to know the exact number of orders before proceeding with production. After all, since this Yeezy GAP collection is Engineered by Balenciaga AND is made in the USA, Ye did prioritize good quality control over every single piece.
After waiting for over two months, my order finally arrived, and here are my thoughts on what I perceive as the first official Yeezy GAP collection:
No question about the quality
While there’s nothing to really write about the packaging (it arrived to me in a box, with the long sleeve tee packed in a plastic bag just like any GAP apparel), one thing that caught my attention was the materials used. I’ve owned as couple of GAP pieces back in high school and college, and the materials they used back then were not of great quality—their shirts used thin fabric that does degrade in quality as I’ve worn them several times through the years.
The Yeezy GAP Balenciaga longsleeve tee is a different case, however. Having also a single-layer construction like most of GAP’s apparel, the material used for it feels closer to what you’d expect on a Balenciaga product (hence why it is Engineered by Balenciaga even if it’s not mentioned in any of the tags). The cotton used feels heavier than your usual GAP product, and the material has a distressed look that gives it a unique look.
Going to the graphic prints, the front GAP print is typical of any GAP product, while the back dove print has a cracked print motif that goes along with the distressed finish of the longsleeve tee itself.
Oversized is the trend
Kanye has been pushing for oversized garments as the next trend, and the whole Yeezy GAP Balenciaga collection epitomizes it. In the case of the Dove longsleeve tee I ordered, the Large size I got feels like an XL or XXL if you used regular sizing.
With the piece I got, the fit is just fine for me (I’m on the heavier side), though the length feels a bit long. Its overall length makes it a great piece if you are on the tall side (for reference, I am 5’7). Despite the oversized fit, I like how cozy it feels, and its single-layer construction makes it more usable in more weather conditions over the dual-layer construction of the other pieces like the hoodie and the no seam tee.
While I do understand that not everyone is a fan of oversized fits, it’s clear that Ye’s direction for this collection is pieces that will keep you cozy—at a rather steep price.
A hefty price tag for a GAP product
Let’s talk about the price: for Php 8,000 (before shipping), the Dove longsleeve tee is expensive for a GAP product. For reference, a classic longsleeve tee would cost you $35(~Php 1.9k) and even less for some colorways. Current StockX prices for the Dove Longsleeve tee are on the conservative side (unless you want smaller sizes), and the resell price is a few dollars more expensive than when you purchase it at retail.
So what are you paying for such a high premium price? Aside from the fact that it’s made in the USA (items made there are always more expensive—just take New Balance’s Made in USA sneakers for example), the added premium can be attributed to the engineered by Balenciaga part with the type of cotton used for the longsleeve tee, along with a finish for both the print and the tee itself that resembles close to a Balenciaga product.
In that regard, Php 8,000 may sound reasonable IF you consider that this is technically a Balenciaga product—and a longsleeve tee from Balenciaga would cost you around $650(~Php 35.1k). In a nutshell, the first Yeezy GAP Balenciaga collection is a perfect example of Ye’s goal of making his products as premium as possible while being accessible to his fans.
Yeezy GAP Balenciaga Review: Final Thoughts
It took almost two years for Ye to release an actual Yeezy GAP collection (the hoodie and puffer jackets are technically not a collection of sorts), and the waiting time from ordering it to having it arrived at your doorstep is just as long. The whole wait is worth it—and it goes beyond the fact that the Yeezy GAP pieces are hyped up.
While the Yeezy GAP Balenciaga collection is expensive for GAP products, it seems that Ye did get the job done in sending his message: that he wants GAP to be more premium than ever, and the Balenciaga co-sign meant better quality and better opportunities for people to get a piece of luxury brand clothing at an accessible price point.
There’s still room for improvement for the future Yeezy GAP collections: I wished for more variety in terms of fits (not everyone will dig oversized, baggy fits), and I hope for more diversity for colorways. The official collection consists of all-black pieces (save for the denim jeans and jacket), and while there are other colors (gray, navy blue, white, and red), it remains to be seen if they will get a wider release.
Going to the pieces, I felt that the logo tee is out of place with the Yeezy GAP Balenciaga collection–considering practically all of the pieces feature a dove graphic in the back.