Faye Y.

Articles on Supreme

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If you haven’t seen Supreme’s (in)famous red and white box logo around, we can only assume that you’d been living under a rock.

The recent years have been the time for streetwear, and Supreme was a key player in making that possible. The seemingly effortless look that has a dollop of edge put forward by Supreme generated quite a hype. There are cultural references here and there, particularly from music, specifically hip-hop, but also film and art. Understandably, it garnered a cult-like following from young skaters, artists and hype beasts in general, who wanted to be in on the next cool thing.

Skater-inspired space

James Jebbia founded his skater-inspired store in 1994 without a grand fashion idea in mind. He just wanted to create an exclusive space for those who enjoys the things he does, a trendy shop where youngsters would ogle cool stuff and be willing to fish out money for them. It was an idea that came to him after his experience with working for surfer-slash-skater-slash-designer Shawn Stüssy. As for why he picked skater-inspired items, he just loved the standoffish, edgy aura the items seemed to project.

A store was opened at Lafayette Street in New York where antiques stores were in rows, allowing it to stand out with the blasting music and the continuous playing of various video clips. It seemed more of a hangout place then than a store, an impression that still can be said for the stores it has now not only in the US but also in Paris, London and Tokyo.

The hip target market

Supreme’s customers, also called as Supremeheads, usually belong to the 18 to 25 block who are very much in touch with their youth and would want to show that off. They generally have eclectic tastes, borrowing from the old and the new, are open-minded to try new things and would want their clothing to reflect what they know whether it may be music, the arts, or pop culture. Supreme’s patrons know what they’re looking for and why they want it. Plus, they are very loyal to the things they subscribe to.

Jebbia, despite founding the shop that has now garnered enough media attention, still maintains a low profile, which can be said is part of the store’s appeal to the youth. This cool vibe extends to other aspects as well. Supreme does not want to be accused of selling out, so ads are kept at a minimum, but it maintains online spaces in the form of its social media accounts for its Internet-savvy clientele. When they do advertise, there is a sense of restraint, as if they’re trying not to overdo it so as not to alienate Supremeheads.

What’s with the queue?

Simple. Limited stocks.

Besides its rebellious reputation, Supreme is notorious for customers lining up outside its stores because the paraphernalia they sell are in significantly low numbers. Occasionally, they’d drop limited edition items that won’t be reproduced once they’re sold out. If you don’t want to miss the hype and have an apparel you’ve had your eyes on, you would have to line up and get ahead or else it’s good bye.

Or, you could resort to the Internet if you have some cash to spare. Supreme going against mass production makes the prices of their items climb up once they hit the Web to be resold. There’s a warning here for those who just can’t resist, though: in a world where stocks of Supreme items are limited, there’s bound to be counterfeits as well.

Much talked-about fashion partnerships

Part of what made Supreme a frenzy is the impressive list of artists and designers the brand has worked with through the years, which include Jeff Koons, Nate Lowman, Neil Young, Comme des Garçons, Timberland, Levi’s, and Nike among others.

A recent collaboration was arguably their most talked about, with no other than luxury brand Louis Vuitton. The meeting of the two brands proved beneficial for both as they were introduced to new audiences.

Whether you like it or not, Supreme is here to stay. For the most part, it does the hype building right: selling merchandise that only the cool kids would wear (and who doesn’t want to be one?), generating demand by limiting supplies, and partnering with big names in fashion. It does know its target market and what appeals to them. And with a significant stake sold to private firm The Carlyle Group, Supreme is bound to get even bigger.

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Supreme outlet in Tokyo, Japan.
Supreme outlet in Tokyo, Japan.

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