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Fashion February, 26 2013

Is Supreme Still Supreme?

It’s a question many of us have been wondering. After exploding onto the scene over the past few years, Supreme has gradually seen its coveted image undergo great change. Whether that’s a good or bad thing dependents on who you ask but one thing’s for certain: Supreme is no longer what it used to be.

New York City writer Jake Woolf, a fan of the brand since its heyday, stepped up to the plate and published an article that questions the brand’s recent evolution without coming off as nostalgic or sentimental. Take for instance the author’s recollection of New York skaters circa 1994:

They enter a small store, which doubles as their new favorite hangout spot where a few friends work. They know they’re at the right place, the door is marked with a simple red box carved out by an angular sans-serif font. A quick look around reveals the tees and hoodies here are more expensive than what they’re used to, but they’re obviously thicker and made better.

The author later goes into detail regarding the brand’s constant hype:

It’s a hype-cycle based on limited runs of product that validates the idea that people will always want what they can’t have. For 18+ years, Supreme’s ability to walk the line between well known and elusive has been a major source of its appeal.

What’s most fascinating is Woolf’s take on Supreme’s recent explosion which many people attribute to the success of Odd Future ringleader, Tyler, The Creator.

Tyler, The Creator can hardly be called mainstream by traditional standards—his music gets minimal radio play and his proper debut, Goblin, moved a modest 50K units in its first week. If there is proper blame to place, then it would be on Tyler’s “fame,” and not Tyler himself. What he did do is expose Supreme to the real mainstream. Take for example, Justin Bieber, who was reported in a recent issue of US Weekly as buying t-shirts at the Supreme store in Tokyo. Or the fading, once multi-platinum rapper Lil Wayne, who donned a Supreme skullcap in his recent “My Homies Still” music video. It’s people like Bieber and Wayne. who are using Supreme as a contrived way of connecting with the young people they wish to win over, that may ultimately tarnish the brand’s reputation.

In all, the article is a fascinating read for both die-hard and casual fans of the famed streetwear brand. Read the piece in its entirety here.

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