GQ reports that Jay-Z’s Rocawear clothing label is the proud new owner of the licensing to manufacture and distribute Pharrell Williams’ Billionaire Boys Club clothing line, but Jay-Z says don’t call it a takeover.
Buying the rights to manufacture and sell a clothing line sounds like buying the label to us, but since details of the deal were vague, it’s possible that Williams still has a significant role in the label creatively, or even from a business perspective, and that Rocawear is simply providing extra financial backing.
There are a lot of details that could make a difference, but for both parties it seems like a win/win. We haven’t heard about Billionaire Boys Club struggling, but Jay-Z’s been able to successfully maintain the Rocawear streetwear label for some time, and that’s no small feat. As tough as it might be to keep pace with changing musical tastes and dominate the charts, it’s equally challenging for a streetwear label to keep its cool for an extended period of time.
In 2007, Iconix Brand Group acquired the rights to the label, netting Jay-Z $204 million. Under the terms of the deal, Jay-Z maintained his stake in the label and continued to oversee marketing, licensing and product development. In other words, he also has a pretty successful track record with fashion label acquisitions that keep the celebrity founders in place, in a significant role.
More of a partnership than a buyout, if you will.