Fullscreen
Fashion January, 10 2012

The Business of Fashion: Inside Supreme – Anatomy of a Global Streetwear Cult — Part I

032c magazine took a more intimate look at the press shy New York brand Supreme in their latest issue. The article is now being published on The Business of Fashion. Today Part 1 of the article was released, examining “how Supreme — the Chanel of downtown streetwear —became a global cult brand with its own myths, iconography and belief systems.”

“NEW YORK, United States — When the controversial young rapper Tyler, The Creator won the award for Best New Artist at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in August, he offered an enthusiastic, yet expletive-laden acceptance speech. “Yo, I’m excited as fuck right now, yo,” he said. “I wanted this shit since I was nine. I’m about to cry.” But with MTV’s censors on high alert, the speech was broadcast more like this: “Yo, I’m excited as – -— — -, yo. I wanted — — — – —- –. – -— – –.”

With the audio missing for about a minute straight to avoid any profanities and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fines, viewers were left with no choice but to absorb Tyler’s image in mute. Clad in skinny dark jeans, an oversize tie-dye T-shirt with an image of a cat’s face on it, and a Supreme baseball hat with a leopard print brim, Tyler, who is 20 years old, was the only artist at the award show who could be said to actually embody how young people dress today. No outfit made from meat, no fancy three-piece suit with a cocked fedora, no oversize bling: Tyler looked exactly how certain young men at this very moment choose to wear their clothes on the streets all over the globe.

It’s no coincidence that the only logo the image-conscious Tyler wished to communicate was the one on his Supreme hat. After all, Tyler’s hodgepodge street aesthetic – a big chunk of skateboard culture and urban hip-hop with a dose of American sportswear prep and a winking, intelligent take on hipster irony – is the one Supreme has been cultivating for the past 17 years since opening its first shop on Lafayette Street in 1994.

The flashy sartorial sensibilities of, say, Russell Brand or Kanye West have mutated into their own category of sub-entertainment and, more often than not, their personal styles do not reflect the current vogue. So how then did the Supreme aesthetic finally become one of the most honest representations of how men choose to wear their clothes in the global mainstream today?

It’s easy to answer that question if one concedes that Supreme currently makes some of the best clothes for men in America right now. And for a brand routinely overlooked by fashion publications and menswear experts as “skate clothes” or, perhaps even worse, just a fad in a niche subculture, this may come as something of a surprise.”

The full Part 1 of the article can be read here.

Selectism