What started as a small skate shop on Lafayette Street in April of 1994 has evolved into a global fashion staple. From their initial days of graphic tees and skate decks to market-breaking collaborations with an extensive portfolio of brands, James Jebbia’s Supreme has come a long way.
The first Supreme store opened in April 1994 was located in Lower Manhattan. The store was designed with skaters in mind; having products arranged around the store’s perimeter meant skaters could skate right into the store and feel welcome. Besides their own limited releases, Supreme stores also stock other skate staples like Nike SB, Thrasher, and Vans.
The iconic BOGO
Unarguably one of the most iconic and recognizable designs to ever hit the fashion industry, the box logo or ‘bogo’ as hypebeasts call it is a replica of artist Barbara Kruger’s work often featuring bold white text in the Futura font on a red box background. Although Kruger has plenty to say about the brand using her design, copyright thieving has been intrinsic to Supreme. The brand’s first drop featured a t-shirt with a photo of Robert De Niro portraying his role in the film Taxi Driver.
Why The Hype?
Supreme has maintained its coveted status with celebrities like Kanye West to Victoria Beckham as devoted customers. Besides drops in their 11 brick-and-mortar stores, the brand also does limited drops on their website. Supreme has a single design only policy where buyers can only buy one T-shirt of a particular design. While this creates demand and hype, it also means countless counterfeit replicas flood the market. Fans are willing to spend as much as they need to if it means they can get their hands on all things Supreme. For most fans, the idea that a local stake shop from lower Manhattan can rise exponentially yet slowly over 26 years to become the giant it is today is awe-inspiring. This is also the very reason the brand maintains a loyal to the end fan base.
Couple this with the brand’s “screw the system” style and its anti-establishment roots, and you’ve got the perfect brand for the young consumer.
A critical aspect of the brand has been its ability to collaborate with various brands and creators to produce successful products that still somehow manage to maintain the fashion language that the brand can be remembered by. A Bathing Ape, Vans, Stussy, Louis Vuitton, CDG, and Nike are the most prominent names in a sea of collaborative pursuits between other brands and Supreme. From bandaids to cups, chopsticks, hammers, lanterns to bricks, and a fully working Dirt bike, the brand creates notable releases that make fans in every sphere of the economy.
From climbing the NY skate scene’s ranks to flooding the Runway and paparazzi shots of various celebrities, the brand has captured both markets and hearts like none else. With recent acquisitions to buyouts, Supreme doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. It’s safe to say the brand has and will always be a cultural icon yet still a skateboard staple.