In a rare interview with GQ, just hours before the opening of Supreme's new Brooklyn store, founder James Jebbia expressed dismay that there weren't more consumers who could simply drop in and purchase the brand's wares. "I wish people would understand why we have a line," he said. "Because we don't have many shops, we aren't sold anywhere [but our own shops], and we have good stuff...but it shouldn't be so difficult for people to come into our shops. We just want to have a space that, on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, people can just come to and walk in and check out our stuff."
According to a report from WWD, that could all change, as private equity firm The Carlyle Group is said to be buying a stake in the iconic streetwear brand. An investment deal of this type typically connotes growth, which likely means new stores, possibly in vast untapped markets like China. The existential quandary for Supreme is the delicate art of balancing street credibility with expansion. Is brand equity diminished with increased access?
In the same interview with GQ, Jebbia appears to allay those fears, explaining why the cramped OG store on Lafayette won't undergo renovation. "We're here for the long haul," he says. "A big shop in Manhattan would feel like we were betraying our roots. And we're not just going to open a bunch of stores. We only open a new store when we do it right. The people we work with are super important, and we only do it when we feel it's right."