Like everything else in Y2K, Sean John could be making a comeback


Across the TikTok and Depop ensemble, everything Y2K is on the rise: True Religion is back, trucker caps are back, low rise jeans are back, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are dating again. So it’s perhaps not all that surprising that a revival of iconic early childhood brand Sean John is on the horizon.

According to Bloomberg, hip hop artist and fashion entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs has filed a $ 3.3 million offer to buy his namesake brand in bankruptcy. Currently, bankrupt brand management company Global Brands Group (known as GBG USA Inc.) currently owns 90% of the rights to the brand, with Combs retaining the rest. Other interested buyers can submit offers until December 15th.

Combs launched his brand in 1998 and it’s no exaggeration to say that he completely remade the idea of ​​a celebrity-run fashion label into its boastful, bling-out image. As is so often the case, sometimes it takes an intruder to fully innovate within an industry, and that’s exactly what Combs did. He saw the coming marriage of high fashion and hip-up, as well as the inevitable fusion of fashion as entertainment, and wisely harnessed it. When menswear was still a relatively small and low-key affair within the larger fashion ecosystem, he saw it as the main course, not as a side dish. Her shows were vibrant – one was the first catwalk show to air simultaneously on television in 2001, on the E! Style network. A year later he was holding his show at Cipriani and the invitations, according to the New York Times, were machine-embroidered, accompanied by silk cufflinks in a suede box, and cost $ 60,000 a piece (the budget of the deal was worth $ 1.2 million). In 2004, he won the CFDA Award for Designer of the Year.

In 2016, Washington Post reporter Robin Givhan gave a detailed portrait of the brand, examining just how bold the move was and how it actually paid off. Givhan said the brand was still doing quite well at the time, with $ 400 million in annual sales. Later in the year, it was officially announced that Global Brands would acquire a controlling stake in the brand. An article in WWD made the deal look like a partnership to grow the brand’s footprint, including global aspirations.

Time goes by and things don’t go as planned. Pandemics come and change things. While this is certainly an oversimplification, what we do know is that at some point the relationship deteriorated, leading to Combs filing several lawsuits against GBG earlier this year. This takeover offer for the brand could be seen as the last chance to reclaim his name and capitalize on the moment, a chance that looks particularly ready to welcome him again. After all, after COVID, Sean John’s velvety draped tracksuits in rich jewel tones suddenly look very, very attractive.


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