James Jebbia’s fabulously successful skate brand Supreme is all about downtown cool and credibility, but it needed a shot of luxe cachet to nab a $1 billion valuation in its deal with private equity giant Carlyle.Jebbia raised Supreme's profile considerably with the Louis Vuitton collaboration this summer, which sources said drummed up 100 million euros in business for the pair, could have sold much more and gave the skate brand just the high-end sheen it needed. (Supreme and Louis Vuitton did not immediately respond on Thursday to WWD queries on sales of the collaboration. Carlyle declined to comment.)The collection bore the marks of both brands, with many pieces featuring Supreme’s white logo wrought on bright red Louis Vuitton leather goods.The line was first unveiled during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in January, but it wasn’t until the end of June that the cool kids queued up outside pop-ups in Paris, London, Miami, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul and Sydney to score (and in many cases resell) a piece of two distinct worlds coming together.“The success of that product in the minds of many people solidified Supreme as a viable luxury brand,” said attorney Douglas Hand, founding member of Hand Baldachin Amburgey, who focuses on designer businesses.Sources said bankers had been shopping an investment in Supreme since at least early 2016, but a deal didn’t come together until just after the collaboration, which featured key holder bag charms for 195 euros and a made-to-order Malle Courrier for 50,000 euros.Despite the prices, the product was sold — and apparently so was Carlyle.Just after the Louis Vuitton x Supreme opened, Carlyle paid $500 million for a 50 percent stake in the company, according to sources, although the deal was kept quiet until last week when WWD first revealed the transaction.At least a portion of the stake that traded hands appears to have come from Goode Partners, which bought into the company in 2014. Goode partner Keith Miller, who did not respond to a request for comment, sat on Supreme’s board and was given kudos by sources, who said his help was instrumental to the brand’s recent development.Supreme looms large in the insider-y streetwear world, and now, with the Vuitton collaboration and the 10-digit valuation, in the broader fashion world. But it’s not clear just how big the company really is.Outwardly, it has stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Tokyo, a closely watched e-commerce site, wholesale at Dover Street Market and a steady stream of collaborations, having linked with Schott, Vans, Stone Island and more before connecting with Louis Vuitton.Sources familiar with the company said it’s larger and much more profitable than it looks from the outside — it would have to be to justify the Carlyle deal’s rumored valuation at just under 10 times projected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of roughly $100 million.That’s a lot of money for a brand built on scarcity and blink-and-you’ll-miss-them product drops.The trick is going to be to maintain Supreme's cachet while growing the business enough for Carlyle to eventually cash out, whether through a sale to another player or an initial public market.Hand said Carlyle understands and tends carefully to brands, understanding that the corporate impulse can hurt the creative side.“Carlyle has a good track record of not killing the golden goose that they invest in,” Hand said. (Indeed, Carlyle bought 100 percent of the high-end sneaker and luxe business Golden Goose Deluxe Brand earlier this year).Supreme and its success, however, would seem to bring fashion and Carlyle into new territory.“It does call into question the very notion of what luxury is today,” Hand said. “Supreme has offered a version of desirable items that are scarce and to many, that is luxury, to have that thing, to posses that thing that others don’t.”And that, in turn, has made the company desirable.“Supreme and what it represents, it’s very graspable by the financially driven mind,” Hand said. “It’s as simple as a supply curve and a demand curve and I think that’s part of their brilliance.”
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.