Supreme Acquisition: Do Cult Brands lose value when ‘Selling Out’?

Since 2006 the streetwear brand Supreme has been dominating the hype game. Through hyper-exclusive releases, crazy collaborations, and unordinary products, Supreme has built a cult-like following. Supreme products have a history of insane resale mark-ups as everyone wants to get their hands on the most exclusive items when they drop. High-Fashion collaborations over the years have elevated Supreme from a streetwear staple to a fashion Icon. 

Supreme’s status as a power brand became set in stone as VF Corporation recently acquired them for 2.1 Billion dollars. VF Corporation is an activewear conglomerate with brands like VansThe North Face, and Timberland under its umbrella. What does this acquisition do for Supreme’s street cred?

Supreme started as an underdog skate brand in the mid-90’s. It wasn’t until their first collaboration in 2006 that the brand started becoming recognized in the world of fashion. Supreme’s products have always been produced with unique graphics and a sense of irony that appeals to the underdog spirit. This can be seen through some of their odder choices in product selection. 

Exclusivity has always dictated the game for Supreme. The brand and their products have always felt incredibly special because they were both incredibly rare and perfectly unique. Owning a piece of Supreme has always felt special because it has always been a challenge to obtain. So many collectors see Supreme as valuable because of their small size. Their refusal to scale has always made every Supreme item feel like a piece of history or a huge statement piece. 

Within the last five years, Supreme has relied on crazy collaborations that bring High-Fashion brands together with the loveable streetwear aesthetic. These collabs have produced products that are even more rare and special than their normal drops. Despite pairing with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Rolex, Supreme’s products have always respected their past and honored the history of skateboarding tied to the brand.

Original fans of the brand take comfort that Supreme joins a collection of similarly focused brands. All three of which Supreme has collaborated with in the past. The hope is that the brand will not lose sight of their history.

Many diehard Supreme fans are worried that with this acquisition will come a shift in Supreme’s offerings. As the small streetwear brand ‘sells out’ to a larger corporation, many will be patiently waiting to see if the Supreme name still carries with it visions of rarity. One major fear is that the brand will scale and attempt to reach a wider audience. VF may try to make Supreme more accessible to the general public in search of high profit margins. 

If this happens, the pedestal that Supreme sits on will shatter. The exclusivity of the brand will fall and with it the thousands of dollars of resale value a Supreme piece may hold. Collectors may abandon the brand in search of more exclusive and rare pieces. A lot is riding on the brand’s next decision.