Holding the garment in your hands for the first time, you realise that it is much more than just a jacket. In addition to being made in a Chinese facility using recycled nylon and polyester fill, it’s also a jumble of inconsequential details. Despite being large, the book is light and airy. A puffer coat with no seams is what you’re looking for. Warm, yet lacking in any form of closure, such as buttons, zippers, or any other type of closure. A Gap jacket that has become somewhat of a status symbol.
Following a successful pre-order period that began in June, the Round Jacket — the first release from the lucrative, 10-year partnership between the rapper-turned-fashion designer Kanye West and the American retailer Gap — has finally begun to arrive in the hands of fans who pre-ordered it for $200 during the dog days of summer last year. The jacket, which is available in three colours: glossy red, black, and electric blue, is already being sold on reseller markets for roughly three times its original price.
The jacket also serves as an invitation to get up close and personal. The coat check staff perked up as they squeezed down on the polyester fill, as though they were participating in ASMR. After handing it up to the coat check, In the words of one of my friends, it was like attempting to burst bubble wrap that never explodes.
The jacket poses a harm to one’s safety in various ways. The handlebars of a passing scooter ripped the cloth from my jogging shorts and jerked me backwards as I sprinted up a busy flight of subway steps.
The garment caused a sales assistant at Flight Club, a consignment shop selling highly sought-after shoes in the vicinity of Union Square, to wax lyrical about his admiration for Kanye. A 19-year-old student named Cavan Miller described him as “a visionary.” He likened the small improvements to the Yeezy models that have occurred in previous years to the progressive tinkering that has occurred with Air Jordans over the years.
Nancy Boomer, a 51-year-old IT worker who works outside Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street, was less enthusiastic. When she was a young adolescent, she recalled, “It reminds me of the coats I had when I was a young adolescent, which I didn’t like because they were too puffy and you were already sensitive about your weight at that age.”
The responses were still coming in, and they were all mixed. A self-proclaimed Kanye West superfan who asked not to be identified by his age, Pergrin Pervez, said he felt the garment showed Mr. West’s complete creative potential. His remarks included a mention of the rapper’s time spent interning at Fendi, which he described as evidence of his dedication, before describing him as one of the “most interesting designers we have today.” Mr. Pervez’s girlfriend, on the other hand, was not convinced.
However, despite its oddities, the Yzy Gap circular jacket seems to have struck a chord with the individuals who were intended to be attracted to it. Purchasers under the age of thirty-one. Sonia Syngal, the Gap’s chief executive, was said to be “very delighted” with the rollout of the blue version, according to reports published shortly after the online launch of the blue edition.
Having worn the jacket in public for a week now, I’ve come to feel that for customers, it signifies, above all else, a connection to Kanye and his creative vision. His concept of fashion, which he has curated and created over the years, is the most democratic and accessible entrance point into his world. You are transformed into a shapeless, off-duty superstar suitable for a paparazzi photo when you put on the jacket, it seems. If not aesthetically, at the very least psychologically.
A few days later, while going through my Bed-Stuy neighbourhood, I saw a young guy of colour wearing the jacket, slinking confidently along the street. I recognised him immediately. He seemed to be well-known as well.