Will VF Corp’s Acquisition of Supreme Impact Sneaker Colabs? Here’s What We Know
With reverberations sure to be felt across the entire industry, it has been announced that legendary New York label Supreme has been acquired by VF Corp – the parent company of Vans – for a figure reportedly exceeding $2.1 billion.
‘We’re proud to join VF, a world-class company that is home to great brands we’ve worked with for years, including The North Face, Vans, and Timberland,’ said Supreme’s founder James Jebbia. ‘This partnership will maintain our unique culture and independence, while allowing us to grow on the same path we’ve been on since 1994.’
Same path? We’re not so sure about that.
The news has sneakerheads speculating regarding the future of Supreme’s upcoming footwear collaborations. Could this be the end of the line for Supreme x Nike? And will we be seeing more drops alongside Vans? A lot remains to be seen, but here’s what we know so far.
Who Are VF Corp?
Founded in 1899, VF Corporation has grown to become one of world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies, parenting iconic brands like The North Face, Timberland, Dickies, and the aforementioned Vans – all of whom have produced sought-after collaborations with Supreme.
Undoubtedly VF’s biggest sneaker coup, Vans was acquired by the company in 2004 in a $396 million deal. Since then, a number of Vans’ executives have moved on to become key members of VF’s management structure, reporting directly to CEO Steve Rendle.
Regarding the new Supreme acquisition, here’s what Rendle had to say:
‘We are thrilled to welcome Supreme to the VF family and to build on our decades-long relationship as we create value for all of our stakeholders. VF is the ideal steward to honour the authentic heritage of this cultural lifestyle brand while providing the opportunity to leverage our scale and expertise to enable sustainable long-term growth,’ he said.
‘The acquisition of the Supreme brand is further validation of our vision and strategy to further evolve our portfolio of brands to align with the total addressable market opportunities we see driving the apparel and footwear sector. The Supreme brand will further accelerate VF’s hyper-digital business model transformation and will be a meaningful driver of VF’s commitment to top quartile total shareholder return and long-term value creation.’
Outlining a five-year plan, Rendle hopes to see a 10 per cent revenue growth, driven by a large international and direct-to-consumer expansion opportunity.
‘On a year to date basis, including the impact of COVID-related disruption, Supreme’s revenue has increased in a mid-single digit rate, including more accelerated growth since the launch of the brand’s Fall/Winter season,’ he said. ‘On a full-year basis, we expect Supreme to contribute more than $500 million in revenue.’
What Does This Mean for Future Sneaker Collaborations?
With the VF acquisition, sneakerheads can look forward to the prospect of more global brick-and-mortar stores, as well as improvements when it comes to Supreme’s global supply chain, international platforms, and digital capabilities.
On top of those changes, it’s safe to assume that we can expect to see more projects alongside stablemates Vans, Timberland, and The North Face, but what does this mean for Supreme’s distinguished footwear collaborators outside the VF bubble? Most notably Nike, who they’ve worked with to produce dozens of iconic collaborations over the years.
Thankfully, at present, early signs point to Supreme continuing their longstanding collaborative strategy.
‘The collaboration question is an important one,’ Rendle acknowledges. ‘This is a highly well-run business. The management team has a very clear strategy that we will support and enable. The collaborations are an important part of their model, but this is their decision to drive, and ours absolutely to support.’
While the brand is no stranger to having the ‘sell-out’ tag thrown at them, Supreme remains anchored in East Coast skate culture, continuing to tap into elements of art and music, despite their ‘world famous’ international acclaim. The brand’s ‘unique culture and independence’ has always been close to founder James Jebbia’s heart, and we can’t see them straying too far from that ethos anytime soon.
‘I would hope, and I think this is true, that the market understands how VF works with our branded portfolio. We do not dictate what our businesses do. We really work to support and enable the strategies that each business has in place. I think this will be very true for Supreme going forward,’ Rendle reiterated. ‘Their collaborations are beyond apparel and footwear. I think you know well that they work with a broad cross section of different sectors and different businesses to enhance their model. We have no intention of changing that.’
For the ‘Preme fiends out there, we’re hoping they stay true to their word.
You can read VF Corp’s full acquisition statement here.