NYC Streetwear Giant has been acquired by VF, the parent company of Vans, The North Face and Timberland for 2.1 Billion USD.
Supreme was founded in 1994 in New York City by James Jebbia. He was born in New York City and grew up in the U.K. His mother was English and his father an American in the U.S. Air Force. Jebbia was a child actor in the U.K. in the late 1970s. He moved back to New York City at 19 in the early 1980s. He worked at a skate shop and clothing store called Parachute in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. In 1989 he opened his first retail store, Union NYC, which carried mostly English brands. In 1991, he teamed up with Sean Stussy to found the Stussy fashion label.
Like Supreme, Stussy was geared towards street and skater wear and became quite popular. However, Sean Stussy chose to retire in 1994, and Jebbia branched out on his own, to create the Supreme label. The brand is known for its skateboard culture t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats of which they make a limited amount, to drive up the hype. Jebbia regularly commissions cutting-edge artists, like Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst to design their skateboards. They have made an effort to keep prices reasonable, by keeping production costs down. VF Corp, the parent company of Vans and Timberland is acquiring the company and its 12 stores from Jebbia and the private equity firms Carlyle Group and Goode Partners LLC. Jebbia and Supreme's senior executives will continue to manage the business after the acquisition.
Supreme has built its reputation and cult following on word-of-mouth and limited release products. A Supreme t-shirt or hoodie typically sells out immediately. But no worries! You can find it on eBay shortly thereafter for $1,000 or more. More than 60% of Supreme's $500 million in revenue comes from online orders. The company has 12 brick and mortar stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, London, and Japan. It has battled knockoffs. At one point, the company sued an Italian man who was selling t-shirts and hoodies with Supreme's logo. The company succeeded in shutting him down in Italy. Supreme owns trademarks for its logo in Europe and China as well as the United States. In 2017, Supreme sold a 50% stake to Carlyle for $500 million, giving it a valuation of $1 billion. With the sale to VF, Carlyle made double its investment in Supreme. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2020.