This article needs to be updated.May 2018)(
(Founder & CEO)
Number of locations
|Products||Clothing, shoes, accessories, skateboards|
|Total equity||USD $1 billion (2017)|
|Parent||The Carlyle Group (50%)|
Supreme is an American skateboarding shop and clothing brand established in New York City in April 1994. The brand caters to the skateboarding, hip hop, and rock cultures, as well as to the youth culture in general. The brand produces clothes and accessories and also manufactures skateboards. Its shoes, clothing, and accessories are sold extensively in the secondary market.
The first Supreme store opened in an old office space on Lafayette Street in downtown Manhattan in April 1994. It was designed with skaters in mind with a unique design for the store layout: by arranging the clothes around the perimeter of the store, a large central space permitted skaters with backpacks to skate into the store and still feel comfortable. This store had its core group of skaters who served as its team in 1994, which included late actors Justin Pierce and Harold Hunter, and the first employees were extras from the Larry Clark film Kids.
In 2004, a second location was opened on North Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles, California, which is nearly double the size of the original New York City store and features an indoor skate bowl. Other locations include Paris Opening in March 2016, London Opening in September 2011, Tokyo (Harajuku, Daikanyama and Shibuya), Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka. The additional locations emulate the original Lafayette Street store's design; stores feature rotating art displays, and use videos and music to attract attention.
Supreme stocks its own clothing label, as well as other skateboard brands such as Vans, Nike SB, Spitfire, Thrasher and Girl Distribution Company, among others. James Jebbia was quoted in saying that anything that Supreme releases will never be classified as "limited," but notes that they make short runs of their products because they "don't want to get stuck with stuff nobody wants."
On October 5, 2017, Supreme opened their 11th store—the second one in New York City—in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. On October 6, 2017, James Jebbia confirmed that the label had sold a significant stake in the company of roughly 50% (around $500 million) to private equity firm The Carlyle Group.
Work and collaborations
Supreme has a diverse history of collaborations with various skateboard and fashion brands. Among their frequent collaborators include Nike/Air Jordan, Vans, Clarks, The North Face, Hanes, Playboy, Levi's, Timberland, Coleman, Comme des Garçons, and Stone Island.
Supreme has also collaborated with brands to create a variety accessories and other non-clothing items such as a cruiser bicycle, bricks, crowbars, a gas-powered mini bike with Coleman, and an Everlast punching bag.
On January 18, 2017, luxury fashion company Louis Vuitton held a fashion show where a collaboration between the two brands was confirmed. Pop-up stores featuring the collaboration were opened on June 30, 2017, in Sydney, Seoul, Tokyo, Paris, London, Miami, and Los Angeles. Louis Vuitton's proposal for a pop-up store in New York City was denied by Manhattan's Community Board No. 2 after residents expressed their "outrage that such an event was being proposed for [Bond Street]". In 2017, The Dapifer reported that Lacoste partnered with Supreme for a limited men's capsule collection. One commentator noted that "Supreme clothing isn’t particularly remarkable — think T-shirts, jumpers, caps and leather accessories — but plaster that iconic red logo on a white shirt and suddenly, it’s worth hundreds of dollars", pointing out that "the brand’s success lies in its scarcity model. It releases a limited number of new products each week, nowhere near the number needed to keep up with demand", causing long lineups as well as inflated secondary market (resale) prices.
Supreme has released skateboard decks featuring the artworks of Harmony Korine, Rammellzee, Ryan McGinness, KAWS, Larry Clark, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Christopher Wool, Nate Lowman, Damien Hirst, and John Baldessari. In addition, they have collaborated with other photographers, artists, and designers such as David Lynch, Robert Crumb, Marilyn Minter, Takashi Murakami, Daniel Johnston, Peter Saville, Futura, Bad Brains, Public Enemy, H. R. Giger, Mark Gonzales, M.C. Esher, Dash Snow, and Nan Goldin.
Supreme's website maintains a page for official videos created by the brand.
The first video released by Supreme was A Love Supreme, featuring music from John Coltrane's album of the same name and filmed by Thomas Campbell. It was a 16-minute black and white skateboarding video filmed on a Super 8 camera.
In 2017 Supreme asked Circlemakers, a group of crop circle makers from the UK founded by the artist John Lundberg, to create a massive crop circle of the Supreme box logo at a secret location in California. The crop circle can be seen in the short film produced by Supreme called Crop Fields.
Supreme lost a lawsuit in an Italian court. The outcomes are that Supreme cannot trademark in Europe, that "Supreme" items not manufactured by Supreme can readily be sold in Italy and Spain, and that Samsung was also able to sign a promotion agreement with a European "Supreme" (not Supreme).
In 2018, Supreme was awarded the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Menswear Designer of the Year Award.
In popular culture
Fashion photographer Terry Richardson has produced some of the brand's most notable photographs, including of Michael Jordan, Kermit the Frog, Three 6 Mafia, Lou Reed, Lady Gaga, Neil Young, Gucci Mane, Nas, and Morrissey. Kenneth Cappello made some of Supreme's most notable photo tees like Mike Tyson, Dipset, Michael Jackson, and Raekwon.
The Supreme brand is very popular in China.
The fifth episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj focuses on Supreme and its influence on street culture.
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