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The Italian Biker Brand Influencing Yeezy
One company's hard-wearing garments have become a go-to for Ye.
The morning after last night’s DONDA 2 listening party, the highly-anticipated Yeezy Gap Engineered By Balenciaga collection dropped—at least, the first part. While a larger collection was revealed to the world consisting of all manner of dark knitwear, a ton of nylon, and iterations of the baggy hoodies and puffers that have become quick staples of the partnership, which is supposedly going on for ten years.
The first drop of the collection featured pieces a lot of people speculated were coming, overdyed, oversized hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with the Gap logo. Only in addition to the signature collegiate-lettered Gap hoodie, there was also the boxed logo available on certain pieces.
While people wanting to grab a slightly more accessible status symbol flocked towards the tees and dove-printed hoodie (priced at $120 and $240, respectively), it’s worth nothing that upon further inspection, it appears the pieces are all made in the USA.
The only non-black garments in this drop (and indeed, the entire collection) is a set of denim coordinates. One is a straight fit stonewashed jean with a blown-out knee, reminiscent of the kind of loose-fitting straight leg denim Gap was synonymous with in the ‘90s, and the other is the simply named “Padded Denim Jacket,” a similarly washed-down and frayed trucker with textured pads on the arms, shoulders, and back.
This particular silhouette is something Ye rocked during his Larry Hoover benefit concert featuring Drake. He’s also been spotted in it at several prior appearances. The way the padded accents emulate musculature, an exaggerated notion of protection, and pronounced architectural elements give it the kind of uncanny valley appeal of the titular titans from the anime series Attack On Titan.
Of the various influences that went into manga-ka Hajime Isayama’s most popular work, he cites the brutal-yet-graceful violence of UFC fighters and the visceral horror of the manga Jigoku Sensei Nube as two of his biggest inspirations. Not that Ye necessarily saw this through-line when he decided to start wearing this jacket, but given his own influences are as diverse as Akira to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s treatment for Dune, it’s certainly something he could appreciate.
The vintage version Ye rocks is from an Italian protective clothing company called Giali. They offer several lines of technical and protective clothing, and they claim that they specialize in “combining aesthetic taste with the need for total body protection.”
One of their best-known products is their protective denim, utilizing the padding seen on the jacket on riding pants, as well as innovations like reinforcing areas with Aramid, Kevlar, and Cordura, and weather-appropriate modular options like thermal linings or waterproof treatments.
The closest approximation to Ye’s vintage jacket would be the Giali 21c. A recent iteration in a mid-wash with patches and less fraying recently sold on Grailed a few months ago for $600, with the subtle flex “Seller is followed by Kanye West” worked into the fine print.
It would appear that the sample used to inform the Yeezy Gap Engineered By Balenciaga version was the same one Ye performed in. Looking at the fraying on the collar and arms, it’s clear that the distressing on the commercial interpretation was taken from the hard-earned thrashing the OG jacket got. Of course, if dad denim isn’t your thing, you can also hold out for a slightly less-distressed black version of the jeans and the jacket that will hopefully release at some point down the line…