If you thought the Cleveland Cavaliers decked out in Thom Browne was the biggest news to surround the New York-based fashion label, think again. As of Tuesday, there's more: Luxury group Ermenegildo Zegna — which boasts a namesake label in addition to its ownership of Brioni, Etro, and Brunello Cucinelli — has bought an 85% stake in the brand, a valuation worth $500 million.
In an official press release, Browne elaborated on the next steps for the brand. "My conceptual approach to design and the long-term vision of growing a true luxury design-led collection for men and women is something we both feel strongly about as the future strength of Thom Browne...with Zegna."
Browne will continue to fulfill his role as chief creative officer while the funding will aid the label in expanding globally. "Thom Browne will have a partner who not only understands the fundamentals of this business but truly embodies them and brings the knowledge and skills of a global leader." Besides its expert tailoring, Thom Browne is known for its outlandish runway shows, which often bend gender and stretch beyond the imagination via design.
This all means that Browne's fabrics will get better (and presumably more Italian) and his luxury goods will be more readily available around the world. It also means that the business of $2,500 suits is still viable. Of its newest acquisition, Zegna Group CEO Ermenegildo Zegna said, "Thom's visionary approach and his unique point of view have enabled him to build and nurture the most loyal clientele. On this strong footing, and thanks to a thriving women's business and strong appeal with millennials, we believe that we can build long-term value for all of our stakeholders."
Both Browne and Zegna have agreed, however, that Thom Browne will remain independent of the Zegna style, which makes sense given Browne's unique, conceptual collections. With this latest boost, the speculation of whether or not Thom Browne could be the next Supreme seems less of a stretch than it does logical. With the support of millennials whose penchant for recognizable-yet-subtle branding and logos doesn't seem to be waining, we could be seeing a lot more of those red, white, and blue stripes come next season.