Through an exclusive interview with Business of Fashion, Supreme founder James Jebbia effectively confirmed the rumor that he had sold a stake in the company to the private equity firm The Carlyle Group. It's the first deal of its kind involving a streetwear brand, and what's more, the particulars of the transaction reveal a surprising fact about your favorite source of graphic tees and hoodies: Supreme is worth one billion dollars. That's the news coming out of a report from WWD, whose due diligence reveals that Supreme sold a 50 percent stake in its business to the Carlyle Group for a whopping $500 million.
This is truly elite company: the Wall Street Journal keeps a running tally of privately held companies valued at $1 billion or more, and as of September 2017, the exclusive club contains just 168 members. And now that Supreme has joined the ranks of Vox Media, Shazam and Warby Parker, the eternal question that surrounds the label comes once again to the fore: can Supreme maintain its credibility even as it expands? And make no mistake, The Carlyle Group's stake means that Supreme will grow larger. How that growth is carried out, and how its core audience reacts, will present a fascinating case study to smaller streetwear brands struggling to strike the perfect balance between exclusivity and accessibility.