Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect Gap's confirmation that it will not be moving forward with its collaboration with Telfar.
Telfar, the NYC brand best known for their genderless design and, more recently, its beloved "Brooklyn Birkin" shopping bag, is collaborating with mall staple Gap. Vogue announced the unexpected partnership on Thursday, coinciding with Gap and Telfar's celebration party happening at the brand's Paris flagship store. Yves Tumor, Hirakish, Crystal Mess, Hawa, and Total Freedom are all expected to perform at the event, and products from the collaboration will drop in batches later this year.
Speaking to Vogue on their decision to collaborate with Gap, Telfar founder Telfar Clemens and Artistic Director Babak Radboy explained that they wanted to move the brand towards one that could be more accessible to consumers. "The type of brand that I am, I'm influenced by the Gap way of merchandising and designing things. It's like we're stuck in this luxury market when what inspires us is [regular clothes], and being on regular people, and that kind of ubiquity and accessibility," Clemens said.
Clemens and Radboy pointed out that Telfar's mission to provide clothes that could belong on any person and any body is actually in line with the universal element expressed in Gap's mission as well. "If you look at the first two seasons Telfar and I did together, it is Gap," Radboy told Vogue. "The Gap customer was supposed to be everybody, literally anybody,"
Details on the specifics of the collaboration are currently scarce, but both Clemens and GAP's Head of Design John Caruso were still able to provide some insight on the design elements the products will focus on. Clemens told Vogue that he is hoping to play with color and size and expanding his range, whereas Caruso seems more interested in Telfar's approach to denim and graphics.
"Gap is an iconic American brand with a rich history rooted in embracing diversity and promoting creativity and innovation, and the Telfar brand is built on these same principles," Caruso said in a press release. "From the moment we began talking with Telfar about the collaboration, we were captivated by his vision and the parallels between the brands, and we are excited to unveil a partnership built on these shared values."
This isn't the first time Telfar's announced an unconventional partnership: In 2017, the brand released a capsule collection with fast-food chain White Castle.
Nearly six months since Gap and Telfar's announcement, the global retailer has officially cut ties on the partnership. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the collection's launch was "postponed indefinitely," according to the Business of Fashion. Once news broke on June 26 that Gap had signed a 10-year deal with Kanye West's Yeezy brand on a new line called Yeezy Gap and set to debut in 2021, fashion fans were left wondering if Telfar and the global retail brand would still move forward with their collaboration.
On June 27, however, Gap confirmed to Business of Fashion that it would not, noting that it still planned to pay the brand.
"While we've chosen not to move forward with the Gap x Telfar partnership at this time, we’re making whole on our payment regardless and have only respect and appreciation for Telfar's time and vision," Gap said in a statement.