Supreme founder James Jebbia has confirmed that Supreme sold a minority stake in the company and while details remain typically hard to pin down, it appears that the exact figures would point to some serious cash money for the streetwear brand.
Women’s Wear Daily claims that the Carlyle Group, an American private equity firm, has bought a 50% stake in Supreme worth $500 million.
I’m no numbers guy but I have watched Shark Tank so I’m pretty sure a $500 million purchase at 50% would translate to a $1 billion valuation of Supreme.
That’s a lot of bread.
It’s no wonder that Supreme and James Jebbia have remained tight-lipped about the exact figure being floated around, a $1 billion valuation would kind of oppose the image of the brand as a countercultural force and possibly alienate some of their fans.
As streetwear becomes more and more profitable, the line between high fashion and cool fashion continues to blur.
Brands like Supreme rely on exclusivity, dropping collections and designs that have a limited supply to create a wild buzz around their product, but a massive investment from a firm like the Carlyle Group may signal a move beyond this model.
At the end of the day, Supreme is a business and Jebbia may want to capitalize on the massive popularity of the brand.
Bobby Hundreds, co-founder of the streetwear brand The Hundreds, told Hypebeast that while the streetwear world is naturally countercultural, at the end of the day, profit is king. Hundreds said,
“As art-focused and creative-spirited streetwear is, the most prominent brands in the category (on a financial scale) are just well-oiled businesses. I know a lot of fans and customers think it’s about culture and cool capital, but the bigger brands are meticulously crafted machines.”
It will be interesting to watch this space and see if Jebbia ever speaks up about the particulars of this reported deal. At the same time, we’ll be keeping an eye out to watch if there are noticeable changes in Supreme’s designs and product availability in the coming months.