Sean John paved the way for the contemporary celebrity-owned clothing line and, finally, it's back in Diddy's hands. The mogul is paying $7.5m in cash (cash!) to again own the beleaguered clothing line, which was in bankruptcy for years.
Launched back in 1998 by Diddy — born Sean John Combs — Sean John wasn't the first celebrity-fronted clothing company but it was perhaps the coolest, blazing trails in the merging of streetwear with so-called "high fashion."
Within its first decade of doing business, Sean John was raking in hosting New York Fashion Week runways and casting Diddy's pals — including Mariah Carey, Naomi Campbell, Pharrell, Nas, and Dwayne Wade — to appear in campaigns.
By the 2010s, though, Sean John's star had fallen. Usurped by cooler streetwear brands, it was relegated to being sold in Macy's and its D2C website.
In 2016, management company GBG USA Inc. purchased a majority stake in Sean John for an unknown amount. Diddy maintained a small share, reportedly only 10%.
When Sean John's bankruptcy auction was announced earlier this year, Diddy expressed interest in reacquiring the company and eventually beat out four bidders to purchase Sean John for $7.5 million in cash.
"Seeing how streetwear has evolved to rewrite the rules of fashion and impact culture across categories, I’m ready to reclaim ownership of the brand, build a team of visionary designers and global partners to write the next chapter of Sean John’s legacy," Diddy said in a statement reported by TMZ, which broke the sale's news.
Diddy's a savvy guy. He's been in and out of the music biz for decades, focusing on a myriad of investments instead of tunes. Fair play to him: Diddy's net worth was estimated at $740 million back in 2019.
Considering the statement he offered after the Sean John sale, it seems like Diddy is angling to reintroduce Sean John as a legit streetwear force.
Sounds like a tall order, considering Sean John's reputation at the moment, but remember where Stüssy was a decade ago.
Like Sean John, Stüssy was sold in "uncool" mall retailers and had little to none of its cred intact. Now, it's one of the world's coolest streetwear labels, supported by tastemaking partners like Dover Street Market.
Stüssy earned its legacy with underground roots, though, whereas Sean John was always a commercial endeavor.
Still, it's not hard to imagine Sean John finding success by aligning with a contemporary Black-owned brand in the vein of Hood By Air or Pyer Moss for a collaborative project — remember that Pyer Moss redeemed FUBU only a few years ago.