Whether he is holding editors captive in the scorching heat on Roosevelt Island, employing some questionable – and potentially illegal – casting requirements, or consistently crashing the New York Fashion Week schedule, Kanye West has notoriously made few friends in connection with his Yeezy fashion line. And now West can add another name to the list of those who are not in his camp, as a sourcing agent has slapped the rapper with a lawsuit, claiming that he cheated her out of upwards of $200,000 in connection with the production of Yeezy Seasons 2, 3 and 4.
According to the complaint, which was filed late last month, Derya Gulseven alleges that she was hired by West Brands Fashion LLC (“West Brands”) in order to help find manufacturers in Istanbul, Turkey that could produce garments and accessories for the Yeezy collections on a season-by-season basis and distribute them within the United States.
Ms. Gulseven – who is the owner of Dde Sourcing, an Istanbul-based firm that provides “new generation sourcing, buying, and manufacturing solutions” for apparel and textiles – asserts that she began working with West Brands on the Yeezy line in 2015, spearheading sourcing efforts for the clothing production for Yeezy Season 2. (Note: The Yeezy garments – which are sold on Yeezysupply.com – are produced and marketed separately from the Yeezy footwear and clothing styles that West creates in connection with his partnership with adidas).
After sourcing manufacturers for the Yeezy Season 2 garments, and just months before the scheduled delivery date in May 2016, Gulseven alleges that she was cut out of the deal, with final arrangements made between the manufacturer and West Brands. As a result, Gulseven was allegedly robbed of her 7 percent commission – or $87,000 – on the $1.25 million order.
Despite the monetary dispute, Gulseven worked, a few months later, to secure manufacturing for the Yeezy Season 3 collection. According to her complaint, the total order was for $2.4 million worth of garments, bringing her expected commission to nearly $170,000. Gulseven claims that while she was paid this time around, instead of receiving the previously agreed upon 7 percent commission rate, she was paid a 4 percent commission. She alleges that West Brands cut her a check for only $77,246 “with no explanation” as to the reduced commission rate.
While it is unclear from Gulseven’s suit why she continued to work for West Brands in light of the continued payment disputes (your guess is as good as ours on this one while we wait for Gulseven to clarify), she, nonetheless, worked on Season 4, for which she alleges that she was not compensated at all.
In her suit, Gulseven cites unpaid wages of $228,000, for which she is seeking payment. She is also seeking punitive damages, a type of damages that are considered punishment and are typically awarded at the court's discretion if the defendant's behavior is found to be especially harmful.