Anti Social Social Club Acquired by Marquee Brands

Anti Social Social Club, the Los Angeles-based streetwear label founded by Neek Lurk in 2015, has been sold to licensing and brand management firm Marquee Brands, BoF has learned.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, although sources said that the transaction was a purchase, not an investment, and that several members of the Anti Social Social Club are now working at the company, which manages labels including BCBG Max Azria, Ben Sherman and Martha Stewart.

”Our plan is to let ASSC be ASSC – with no intent to change the brand DNA, values, or culture,” said Marquee Brands chief executive Neil Fiske in a statement to BoF. “We’re providing capital and operating platforms to help them grow. They’ll remain as entrepreneurial, creative, contrarian and weird as they’ve always been.”

Marquee is one of the major players in a sector of the fashion industry that has benefited in recent years from the strife of legacy brands, which were challenged by changes in consumer behaviour long before the pandemic hit. Authentic Brands Group, which raised $3.5 billion in 2021, has made headlines for its high-profile purchases of everything from Barneys New York and Sports Illustrated to Brooks Brothers and Reebok, all household names that have struggled to develop business models that work in the modern era.

While its purchases have not garnered as much press, Marquee has been going head-to-head with ABG on deals via a $462 million fund raised by its backer, investment firm Neuberger Berman, in 2016. Fiske, a former Gap executive, joined the business in September 2020, just as the M&A market was heating up. However, as valuations soared, the company failed to secure any new deals after the acquisition of housewares brand Sur La Table in August 2020.

Now, as the market cools with inflation rising, new opportunities arise. A former social media manager for Stussy, Lurk founded Anti Social Social Club on social media, photoshopping an image of a t-shirt and making them after he received orders from followers. The brand gained further notoriety after it was worn by Kanye West, although its status in the streetwear ecosystem is complex. Deemed deeply uncool by insiders, but once beloved by the masses, the brand has been picked apart on social media. Searching its name on TikTok pulls up video after video asking “What happened to Anti Social Social Club?”

Among the theories: overexposure, an absentee founder and frequent shipping issues, where customers received items months after they had ordered them.

However, Anti Social Social Club still offers Marquee access to the coveted Gen-Z audience — especially in China, where it’s popular. (Annual sales are unknown, but many streetwear labels with the same reach easily generate $25 million a year or more.)

Once prolific online, Lurk — whose given name is Andrew Buenaflor — has retreated from social media in recent years after moving back to Las Vegas, where he lived prior to Los Angeles. His current level of involvement in the business is unknown. Marquee brands did not answer a request for comment regarding Lurk’s role, and he could not be reached for a request for comment.

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