Image Credit: Supreme X Louis Vuitton
Following VF Corp’s acquisition of Supreme in November 2020 for $2.1 billion USD, the streetwear brand’s loyal fan base has been wary of changes that could be implemented. VF Corp owns brands like The North Face and Vans, which have been making waves with their high-profile collaborations. VF Corp has made clear that they do not wish to re-invent the brand from a creative perspective. Instead, they have left the creative power in the hands of the Supreme’s founder and designer James Jebbia. The corporation seems to push its brands to financial success by offering a great deal of resources without interfering with their own identities and aesthetics, which will surely be appreciated by Supreme’s large following.
However, a defining aspect of Supreme’s identity is its exclusivity. From Thursday drops being sold out in literal seconds, Hypebeasts camping outside the store to pieces being resold for double their initial retail price, we wonder if VF’s acquisition will disrupt this business model.
CEO of VF Corp Steve Rendle told WWD “We understand the skill set that sits inside that team […] We don’t want to disrupt this business. This business is really well run. It always makes me chuckle if people think we’re going to come in and change Supreme.” In addition, CFO Scott Roe has stated that they “don’t want to mess it up.” This comes as a reassuring statement for Supreme lovers. It seems as though no detrimental changes will be put into place.
We wonder, could the brand lose touch with its long-time fans if it does become more accessible? Resale value will certainly drop if pieces are to be produced in large quantities. It is possible that the thrill resale culture offers will be lost, diminishing Supreme’s ‘coolness’. Or would it simply embrace a larger clientele just like Yeezy? The once unattainable shoe is now becoming a stable-selling piece, whilst still maintaining its initial hype.
Supreme’s new accessible model could potentially start through shoes, as VF Corp owns both Vans and Timberland, two consequential footwear brands. Though this may be a future venture, Rendle has stated: “there will be no rush to drive these points.”
It is hard to imagine buying Supreme at the local shopping centre, but it is not impossible. However, if VF Corp plays their cards right, they could maintain Supreme’s iconic status while increasing their overall stock of products. Often left heartbroken as a result of sold-out drops, this could be a way for the corporation to win over the devoted fans, and win over new diehards in the process. This likely won’t happen any time soon, so we are impatiently and nervously awaiting to see how Supreme will evolve.
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