‘The lesson from Supreme is that retailers need more than customers – they need fans’

Neil Gibb

A tale of two fashion retailers. In May 2020, US company J Crew filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A few months later, Supreme was bought by VF Corporation for $2.1bn (£1.6bn).

J Crew and Supreme were very much in the same business – selling premium-priced clothes – but their fortunes could not have been more different. 

If J Crew’s demise had been a one-off, it could be seen as just one of those things. But you could replace J Crew with G-Star Raw, True Religion, Topshop, Oasis or Warehouse, to name just a few fashion retailers that went under in 2020.  

The media was quick to draw conclusions about why so many clothing retailers were going out of business. 

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