Gap’s recent announcement of a new collaboration with Kanye West’s fashion label Yeezy made headlines for the simple reason that anything West does cannot go unnoticed. And as excited as everyone is about the upcoming collection, this news also raised questions about Gap’s prior collaboration commitments with the fashion brand Telfar, which have now been ‘indefinitely postponed’. Did Gap just drop Telfar for Yeezy?
In January, when Gap—an American brand that seems to have been there since day one—announced its upcoming partnership with Telfar, one of the most provocative designers in the US, the news was arguably the most exciting collaboration of 2020. When Telfar shared on Instagram a hybrid of the two brands’ iconic logos, the post racked up more than 15,000 likes. The announcement resulted in an impressive celebration at Gap’s multi-level store in Paris during the Men Fashion Week, where the location was turned into an after-hours club.
As reported by Vogue, it was planned that Gap would debut the product drops later in 2020. Founder and designer Telfar Clemens and his team had met with Gap in 2019 and felt inspired by the way Gap caters to “regular people.” For many, this meant that not only would the collaboration be fashun but it would also be affordable! For Clemens, working with Gap was a dream come true.
But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the collaboration was halted. In an interview with Business of Fashion, Telfar Clemens and his business partner Babak Radboy mentioned the partnership: “We have to stick together and figure out what we all want to do as a team, moving forward. And if the environment allows us to continue, how does that work?” This was on 7 April, two months before Yeezy revealed the new collaboration. Since then, many had questioned whether the Telfar collaboration was still happening given no official statement had been made at the time.
Enters more drama, when rumours spread that the Telfar team had only heard about the Yeezy collaboration at the time it was announced and that no payments had been made to the team for the work it had already done.
According to Hypebeast, Gap sent an email to Telfar in March noting that the team-up would need to be pushed to 2021 with contracts adjusted to reflect the change. Telfar was reportedly offered a “25 per cent of the design fee as an advance for work completed” but never paid in the end.
On 27 June in an interview with Business of Fashion, Gap finally confirmed that the collaboration with Telfar had been dropped. The brand also addressed the non-payment allegations: “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.”
Now that we know for sure that Yeezy replaced Telfar, we’re eager to see whether Kanye West will be able to revive the struggling brand that had a steep decline in sales even before COVID-19. The collaboration will be available in stores and online at one point in 2021—that is, if it doesn’t get cancelled before that.
I would like to think that I had a good sense of style when I was younger. I remember having this tiny white rabbit fur coat that my mum had bought me age 5 that I had decided to customise with some pink fluorescent highlighter—I thought it was just the coolest thing ever, while my mum had a minor breakdown. Looking back now, I realise that, compared to today’s new generation of fashionistas, my early styling skills were borderline tacky.
Not only did Instagram create what we now know as influencers, it also introduced us to some very young fashion influencers. Standing out from the crowd of stylish little ones is Coco, also known as @Coco_PinkPrincess, the 9-year-old Japanese fashionista, and probably one of the trendiest and coolest young girls on Instagram. From her first post in 2015 to her most recent one from the beginning of February, not only did Coco share with her followers some serious fashion style, but she also showed the world what it means to be a kid-influencer.
Coco’s following really blew up globally after she was interviewed by Vice age 6. Shortly after, aged 7, she had already done a photoshoot for ELLE, for which she styled her own accessories. That same year, she spoke to Hypebae about her love of fashion. Today, with 675K followers (and counting), it is obvious that Coco is Insta famous, and for good reasons. Looking through her feed, there aren’t any styles that she can’t master—from streetwear and classic with a twist to kawaii and head-to-toe Gucci or Balenciaga, Coco looks amazing in everything.
In order to get some fashion tips from the Pink Princess herself, Screen Shot had an exclusive interview with the 9-year-old and her mum Misato, where we spoke about Coco’s style, her dreams for the future and her in-depth knowledge of Instagram’s algorithm. Here’s how it went:
What I love about your style is how eclectic and colourful it is. You always dare to take that extra step that most people wouldn’t. What is your process behind putting together one of those outfits?
Coco: When I make an outfit I sometimes choose the clothes I want to wear first or choose a theme, also my father teaches me a lot about fashion, so sometimes we make the outfit together or sometimes just by myself.
Misato: As she grew up in Harajuku she’s been surrounded by many colourful and stylish adults, so she’s been in an open environment when it comes to styling.
Do you have fashion icons or other influences on your style?
Coco: Not really but I sometimes check fashion feeds on Instagram.
With the help of her parents who run the vintage store Funktique in Harajuku, Tokyo, Coco styles her outfits depending on what kind of mood she is in on that specific day. But how did she start her Instagram and what exactly does it take to curate an account that has that much fashion influence?
You’ve been known as a fashion icon on social media for a few years. Is it still as much fun for you today as it was in the beginning? What encouraged you to open your account and share your fashion styles with the world?
Coco: Yes, I still really enjoy taking photos for Instagram.
Misato: Coco was brought up in Harajuku since she was 2 years old where we, her parents, run a vintage shop. Shop staff, influencers and people in the entertainment industry around her were all on Instagram, so Coco naturally imitated them and started posting on Instagram.
As a fashion influencer, Coco is one of the few who don’t post as regularly as the others—she posts monthly or twice a month, but never every few days. Speaking to Misato, we asked:
Is this done on purpose or are you both just posting whenever you have time and good pictures of Coco’s outfits?
Misato: It’s true that her frequency to post has lessened and there are 2 reasons for it. After analysing Instagram’s algorithm and taking her daily life into consideration, the posting pace we chose was the most efficient for her then. She also started to have a lot of work and projects, so it became harder to make time for posts on Instagram. However, the algorithm has recently changed and her work pace became calmer, which means that she started posting like before again.
When it comes to social media, and more specifically Instagram, kids are now growing up alongside it. Do you think one day Instagram will become old news, and, if so, what new app would you like to replace it?
Coco: There are new apps coming out one after another so it might change to something else.
Misato: This is a hard question. We don’t know what will happen to Instagram and which app will replace it, but for Coco’s generation, it will still be an essential part of their lives. So it will also be important to be able to make decisions flexibly, even if the platform changes.
Speaking about the future, do you know what you’d like to achieve next?
Coco: Lately I enjoy acting, so for now, I hope to be a great actress.
That would be great! And what about fashion, do you see yourself still doing what you do on Instagram? Would you like to stay in the fashion industry?
Coco: I like fashion so I hope to still be a part of it in the future.
To finish, give us a few of your tips, what is your favourite thing about fashion at the moment?
Coco: Lately, I’m into flowers and creating styles like natural flower combinations. I like pale colour tones, like what natural flowers have.
So, for those of you who are in need of some fashion inspo, you heard it here first; try to include more flowers and pastel colours in your Instagram feed to stand out. When it comes to fashion, Coco’s style and vision both seem to be a mix between classic and new innovations—something that we, at Screen Shot, are always trying to promote in a fun and engaging way.
It is unclear what the future holds for social media, new technologies or even for the fashion industry, but what is sure is that the new generation is showing an incredible amount of savviness and creativity. In the end, it will be people like Coco, ZaZa and others who will shape our future, at least as long as fashion is concerned. And when speaking to Coco and her mum, it almost feels like a reassurance to realise that a famous 9-year-old fashionista can be as grounded and lovely as her Instagram pictures depict her.