Cult Clothing Co was established by Ian Hibbs and Julian Dunkerton in Cheltenham in 1985, at which time it was trading as "Cult Clothing". It expanded during the 1990s and established stores in a number of UK university towns and cities, from Oxford and Cambridge to Edinburgh and Belfast. It opened its first store under the Superdry name in Covent Garden in London in 2004.
Under Theo Karpathios, a nationwide then the global expansion of Superdry took place. The business floated on the London Stock Exchange in March 2010. Dunkerton appeared in the Sunday Times Rich List 2010 and was estimated to be worth £180m. The company issued a profits warning and placed its store opening plans under review in February 2012; the share price quickly dropped by 18%.
On 22 October 2014, it was announced that Dunkerton stepped down as CEO of Superdry and was replaced by Euan Sutherland, the ex-CEO of The Co-operative Group. In February 2016 Dunkerton sold four million shares at £12 per share (for a total of £48 Million) but remained the largest shareholder with a 27% stake in the group.
On 8 January 2018 SuperGroup plc changed its name to Superdry plc.
Superdry does not overtly advertise and does not actively pursue celebrity endorsement except a 2015 collaboration with Idris Elba. With this said, a Brad leather jacket worn by football player David Beckham sold 70,000 units from 2007 to mid-2009, becoming one of the best-sellers for the company.
The company's products include frequently meaningless excerpts of Japanese text, inspired by the common Japanese practice of placing decorative English text on items to increase their fashionability and appeal, a phenomenon known as Engrish. The company explained to a Japanese television crew in 2011 that they deliberately use simple machine translation to generate Japanese text, and that they are aware that the texts often have no meaning. The Japanese text incorporated in the brand's logo—極度乾燥(しなさい) (kyokudo kansō (shinasai))—literally translates as "Extreme dry (Do it)", the text in brackets is due to the translation software used offering alternatives depending on whether dry is intended as a noun (e.g., super dryness) or an imperative, (e.g., dry this shirt out).