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Under New Ownership, Aussie Streetwear Seller Eyes Stateside Expansion

Is streetwear sidelined in fashion? A new acquisition seems to signal continuing strength for a sector in the industry that dominated much of the past decade.

On Wednesday, a.k.a. Brands announced its acquisition of Culture Kings, a premium Australian streetwear retailer founded in 2008 by Tah-nee and Simon Beard in the Australian city of Brisbane.

Culture Kings joins a portfolio of high-growth fashion brands under a.k.a.’s umbrella that includes digital natives Princess Polly, Petal & Pup and Rebdolls. In agreeing to the transaction, Culture Kings will have access to a.k.a.’s platform, which has built its business by accelerating profitable growth in direct-to-consumer brands by leveraging collective scale and operational support through an asset-light, data-driven playbook.

Known for its blend of music, sport and fashion apparel, footwear and accessories, Culture Kings’ eight retail locations in Australia curate more than 100 global brands.

“Culture Kings is a leading digital and retail destination and exactly the kind of hyper-innovative brand that a.k.a. is designed to support. Through their unique and immersive approach, Tah-nee and Simon have built a compelling business with a highly loyal and extensive customer base,” said a.k.a. CEO Jill Ramsey. “As one of the most sought after streetwear retailers today, we see significant growth opportunities as we work with Tah-nee and Simon to introduce and expand the Culture Kings experience in existing and new geographies. Through this partnership, we will provide Culture Kings the support and expertise on the business end, allowing them to focus on the art of fashion and the brand vision that customers have come to know and love.”

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John Gonneville, a.k.a.’s vice president of strategy and M&A, said the company and its platform were built to provide operational and financial resources to brands with strong margins, marketability and global potential. In Culture Kings, Gonneville said a.k.a. found a brand with a “deep loyal customer following.” A.k.a. said on Wednesday that it plans to rapidly introduce Culture Kings to consumers in the U.S.

“Culture Kings was built on our passion for music and fashion from different cultures and communities around the world,” Tah-nee and Beard said in a joint statement. “As we look to bring our love of the streetwear lifestyle to new consumers and further deepen our connection with our fans, a.k.a. provides us with the ability to focus on our strengths of creating and curating great product and delivering it in a unique and entertaining way. Our vision has always been to create the next global retail phenomenon where culture and style collide. We couldn’t have found a better partner than a.k.a. to help us continue to scale our business and realize our dream of being the number one destination for streetwear across the globe.”

The streetwear brand said on its website that over the years, it has become known for the quality and consistency of “in-store drop-ins by huge names within the rap, hip-hop, R&B, electronic, fashion and sport scenes,” including celebrities like Drake, Migos, A$AP Rocky, Jayson Tatum and mixed martial artist Israel Adesanya.

A.k.a. Brands, which  is backed by Summit Partners, a global alternative investment firm managing over $23 billion in capital, didn’t reveal the acquisition cost.

Streetwear as a category continues to gain traction with consumers. Earlier this month, sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods launched its own stand-alon apparel line Stadium, while VF Corp. acquired streetwear powerhouse Supreme in December.