Roundup: Why Supreme Got Sold and What's Next for the Brand
Rupa Bhattacharya

Can Supreme Stay Cool?

The streetwear world was rocked this week by the news that historically-inaccessible brand Supreme, frequently called the “Chanel of streetwear” had been sold to VF Corporation, owner of Dickies, Timberland, Vans, and the North Face.

The deal, which sets the iconic brand’s value in the realm of $2.1 billion, raises a lot of questions about what Supreme looks like in the future. If you have a brand based on scarcity and exclusivity, what happens when it goes corporate?

For their part, VF says they won’t be making major changes; Supreme’s leadership will stay in place and the brand will remain headquartered in New York. And this has seemed an inevitable progression on Supreme’s part since they started taking private equity investment in 2014 — and, notably, selling a 50% stake in 2017 to PE juggernaut the Carlyle Group.

Some analysts see this as a pivot for Supreme away from their dalliances with the luxury market and back towards their East Coast skate roots, which would put them in keeping with general industry trends; others seem certain this is an inevitable trajectory away from cool. Yet others are framing it as “just another sick collab” — so it remains to be seen. 

Supreme stock was up 13% on Monday after the announcement, while the first Supreme x Timberland collaboration dropped Wednesday to unenthusiastic reviews

This Week in Otis

Street artist Futura earned his cred on the rails of New York in the 70s and 80s—a product of the same “subway school” of artists that carried Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring to instant acclaim. He’s a collaborator extraordinaire, historically known for his willingness to blur the boundaries between street, gallery, and commercial work — and his work makes it clear that commerce need not dilute creativity.

In honor of our Nike SB Dunk High “FLOM” drop, Eileen G’Sell profiles the New Yorker’s New York artist, and his history of creative collaboration. 

Read: To Legendary Street Artist Futura, Everything's a Gallery

Of Interest

• A mesmerizing look into Kehinde Wiley’s creative process.  

• What makes a good collaboration?

• The much-loved “Neutral Grey” AJI High is finally coming back.

• Your now-valuable baseball card collection may have tax implications

• There’s a Patrick Mahomes card collection on sale for $7.5m.

• Inside Rome’s stolen art vault.  

• A Batman debut comic just went for $850k.

• Topps just collaborated with a bunch of graffiti and street artists to launch trading card prints.  

• Are handbags a new asset class?

• Unseen ‘Last Dance’ footage sees MJ weighing in on the “next Jordan” debate.

• Rashid Johnson on the meaning of escapism

 

News From the Otis Collection

• Someone’s selling a McDonald’s x Travis Scott action figure for $55,000.

• Futura has an exhibit of hand-painted lamps coming up at the Noguchi Museum (and Takashi Murakami opened up about their relationship in a new book).

• Inside Tracey Emin’s raw, emotional new show at the Royal Academy.

• Artnews profiles Derek Fordjour on the eve of his show SELF MUST DIE at Petzel Gallery.

• Felipe Pantone has a new, limited-edition sculpture dropping

• Jeff Staple stands up for Warren Lotas in the latter’s battle with Nike

• Derrick Adams chats with Rashid Johnson, Antwaun Sargent, and a dream team of artists about the future of creativity.


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