As frustrating as it sometimes is, often what’s cool is built on a sense of exclusivity. One brand who has taken that concept and run it into a business that pulls in over $500 million dollars in revenue a year? Supreme. Now, it’s being sold to VF Corporation, the parent company of Vans, The North Face and Timberland. For a chill $2.1 billion dollars. Not bad for a skater brand with a scant handful of brick and mortar stores around the world.
However, it does leave us wondering what happens from here. The cult streetwear label has built a loyal following of ‘preme heads’ who happily camp out for its streetwear drops, which consistently sell-out, no matter how dumb some might think a pack of Supreme branded Ziplocs are. Whether buyers are actually wearing their finds, or are flipping for that sweet resale value varies, of course. Where does Surpeme sit now that they’re owned by a company who makes shoes as ubiquitous as Vans? (Who hasn’t been put off the archetypal skate shoe by an ill-thought-out encounter with a grimy alt dude at one point in time, after all.)
Over the years, Supreme has also maintained its status with high profile collabs. Think artists like Kaws and Takashi Murakami—and ones that tap into “if you know, you know” cultural touchstones, like My Bloody Valentine. The selectiveness is kind of the point, and we’re intrigued to see where VF Corporation takes their new toy. Per the Guardian, their chief exec has said “We are not coming in to make changes. We’re here to support and enable… a high performing business.”
Some are already viewing this as the end of Supreme, at least based on a quick vibe check on Twitter. One fan and sneaker freak (@thesneakersyndicate_) tells me that “preme heads have noted that it has been waning in the past few seasons,” and it’s now essentially no longer sexy and has been “Culture Kinged.”
It does seem like a weird pivot to go from a build-your-own and scrappy skate philosophy to selling to a giant corporation. But on the other hand, perhaps Supreme could see the writing was already on the wall? If so, what a way to get your coin and GTFO.
Lead image via Vanni Bassetti / Getty Images.