• James Jebbia founded the streetwear brand Supreme in 1994
  • He served as apprentice to Shawn Stussy
  • VF Corp. acquired Supreme for $2.1 billion

James Jebbia, the founder of Supreme, has moved closer to the billion-dollar mark after his streetwear brand Supreme inked a deal to be acquired by VF Corp.

Jebbia now has an estimated net worth of $800 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. His fortune saw a massive increase after VF Corp., the parent company of Vans, Timberland and North Face, confirmed that it bought Supreme from Jebbia, Carlyle Group and Goode Partners for $2.1 billion, Wall Street Journal reported.

By acquiring Supreme, it plans to expand its customer reach and offerings from athleisure and outdoor to the highly lucrative streetwear market, which is estimated to be worth $50 billion worldwide, Forbes reported.

So how did Supreme become the center of the multi-billion dollar streetwear industry? Supreme started as a skatewear brand, but unlike its competitors, it does not invest heavily in marketing. It is best known for its collaboration with different brands such as Nike, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Levi’s, among others.

For Jebbia, what makes Supreme still relevant is its authenticity. “I think that’s really what we try to do, just mix it up. Make what we felt we really liked. And it kind of was a gradual thing. From a few tees, a few sweats, pair of cargo pants, a backpack. But the influence was definitely the young skaters in New York,” he told GQ in a 2019 interview.

Carlyle Group
A general view of the lobby outside of the Carlyle Group offices in Washington, May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Even though the company is extremely successful, it remains grounded and only has a handful of locations in the U.S., Japan and Paris. Now, Supreme is expected to bring an additional $500 million of revenue to VF Corp., which recorded $10.5 billion in annual sales for the fiscal year 2020.

The 57-year-old founder started learning the trade when he served as an apprentice to Shawn Stussy. When Stussy decided to retire in 1994, Jebbia decided to create Supreme.

Now in its 26th year, Supreme remains as strong as ever. It has expanded its offerings from streetwear to products and accessories. Due to the very exclusive in-store releases, some of the prices of Supreme merchandise can go several times higher in online marketplaces for resellers. It all adds to its hype among loyal followers. A brick with the Supreme logo stamped on it could cost as much as $130 per piece on the reseller market.

The Carlyle Group's move to purchase a 50% share in the brand for a reported $500 million back in 2017 raised more than a few eyebrows, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Now, concerns have been raised among fans regarding how the VF Corp. deal would change the brand. Fortunately, Jebbia will still remain in the company, along with the core management.

The news of the acquisition immediately brought positive news for VF Corp. The company’s stock soared by as much as 11% after news of the purchase broke out and closed at $11.81.