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How Kanye, Gap, and Chanel Are Dressing Us Down for Dystopia

If the world feels terrible right now, one can take small comfort in the cultural history of dystopia being a long one. From George Orwell’s 1984 to cinema franchises like Mad Max, fiction has interrogated what it would be like if we ever hit that point of dystopia or a borderline to present apocalypse. This idea of “the end of life as we know it” has long influenced the cultural zeitgeist, including fashion.

One example is the recent drop of Kanye West’s Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collection. Business of Fashion credited Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga with bringing a dystopian retail experience to stores. Rather than the traditional well-merchandised, well-sized, particularly laid out approach to visual merchandising Gap takes, the Yeezy collection was available… in trash bags.

Did this deter many customers from shopping? Not at all. Shoppers waited hours in line to shop to purchase T-shirts and hoodies, many of which are now sold out in most sizes. The shopping area for the collection consisted of limited space with black floors and black walls, and customers recreating the scene of dumpster diving. It was dystopia at its most capitalist.

Despite the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collection nearly selling out, some aren’t as happy with this dystopian concept as one might think. Mike Grillo, a customer who recently shopped at Gap after the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga launch, said, “We need to stop pretending Yeezy Gap is a thing. It’s literally trash bags full of black hoodies flopped in the center of your average gap [products.] Spare us. I also overheard a sales associate saying Yeezy Gap is the same materials Balenciaga uses, and I bet you my retirement fund it’s not.”

In an e-mail to The Daily Beast, Gap said that Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga,

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