Supreme: The Rise of an iconic Streetwear brand

Supreme is a brand that was originally a brand created by skaters for skaters at a time when it wasn’t as hugely popular as it is today. The brand was created by James Jebbia a man notorious for being very hard to get an interview with. Although born in America Jebbia lived in England until about the age of 19 when he returned to the States. He worked for similar style clothes stores in Manhattan for a while such as Stussy before finally opening the first Supreme store on Lafayette street in Manhattan in April 1994. The shop was designed with open spaces so their skateboarding customers could skate right in with ease.

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It was only in the last few years that Supreme really saw its growth with people from outside the skating world taking interest in the brand. Celebrities began rocking the brand’s wares such as Kanye West and Asap Rocky are some of the recent ones to name but a few. Supreme also does collaborations with many other big brands such as Northface, Vans, Fila and SSUR which makes their products even more desirable to their customer base and opens them out to a wider audience.

Supreme is probably best known for its iconic box logo tees which you can see above being worn by Lady Gaga and Morrissey. They can be got in a multitude of colours but it isn’t the easiest to get your hands on an authentic one as the thing with Supreme is they only release a small number of each of their products in each product run making them a very exclusive brand. They claim that they aren’t trying to make the brand an exclusive thing but rather they do short runs of the products because they don’t want to be left with excess stock.

Even with these small product runs Supreme has been able to sell a wide variety of products in the drops they do at their New York store almost every Thursday. It seems that people would buy anything that had the Supreme logo plastered on it including the two items below a brick and an air horn. Now these serve absolutely no purpose at all its just so people can have the bragging rights that they own them. In the world of streetwear these people are generally referred to as “hypebeasts” and it isn’t a term you want to be known as. Generally hypebeasts are seen as just following the latest fad and actually have no real interest in the brand or even the clothes they are paying large sums for.

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In the past 2 years or so this lack of availability of the product , as with many other clothes products in today’s market, has caused a worrying trend to arise. When there is a massive demand and only a small supply the prices soar. It has created a new business for re-sellers. These people make a business of getting the product first at all the drops so they can collect all the product and sell it at crazy margins pushing out any real affordability from the brand. If you don’t live near the only two stores in America where the main re-seller market is then you don’t have much choice other than to pay the crazy prices. Some of the more rare t-shirts such as their Kermit the Frog tee it can go for as much as $600 and many people make their living off re-selling the brand.

Complex the online and bi-monthly print magazine have a really good documentary about how these re-sellers came about and what it’s doing to Supreme and the whole market of it even coming down to bribing the security guards so you can get to the top of the queue for the drops.

It is crazy to see the growth of this brand from it’s humble beginnings in 1994 but it doesn’t look like Supreme is going to change it’s business model soon and produce for the masses but it also doesn’t look like the hype for their products is going to die down anytime soon. Even though I want pretty much all the products they drop I would find it extremely hard to justify paying the crazy prices to obtain that hype.

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