With Supreme celebrating its 20th birthday this year, we thought it would be interesting to compare other brands that got their start at the same time. 20 years is a long enough time to make or break a brand, to rise and fall, and then come back again. The real enigma with Supreme, however, is not just it’s success, but it’s ability to remain exclusive and highly sought after, even though its reach has undoubtedly extended beyond the mainstream. A brand that is both widely known and desired after, yet still quite hard to attain is a marvel of modern marketing. Hats off to James Jebbia.
Sitting alongside Supreme in the Class of ’94 are a few other well-known alumni who coincidentally, are also hitting their peak right now. Prince of Darkness Rick Owens and Parisian designer Isabel Marant both got their start in the same year, with both brands currently making big waves in the industry. Marc Jacobs also officially launched his namesake brand that year, which has grown into an empire with varying degrees of exclusivity, on top of his 16-year tenure as creative director at Louis Vuitton. Unfortunately not everyone from the year made it out on top, as ’90s streetwear brand Mecca USA hit its peak a little early and never quite kept its hold on the market.
After starting out as an independent fashion brand in 1994, Rick Owens‘ career took on a slow rise as he built a name for himself as an exclusive artisanal brand. His career really took hold in 2002, when he showed his first runway collection in New York and was described by U.S. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour as one of her three “most fabulous recent discoveries.” Since then, the designer has managed to walk the fine line of success and exclusivity, thanks to diffusion lines and brand collaborations that allow a broader range of consumers to purchase his clothing, while keeping his integrity with the high-end Rick Owens line.
Cofounded 20 years ago by professional rally driver Ken Block, DC Shoes, originally Droors Clothing, was originally created as a line of skateboarding footwear. Branching out to other action sports such as snowboarding and motorcross, the brand earned a reputation for high-performance gear, offering clothing, outerwear, accessories, snowboards and snowboard boots. Promoting itself via clever marketing strategies in which the brand sponsored world-class athletes in the extreme sports fields and built their own skateboarding and snowboarding teams, DC Shoes has kept its edge and still maintains a strong hold on the market.
Although Marc Jacobs first got his start in the late ’80s designing for renowned menswear label Perry Ellis, he kicked off his namesake line with a mens collection in 1994. A few years later he was appointed creative director at Louis Vuitton, where he helped rebuild the image of the French luxury goods brand. After launching his Marc by Marc Jacobs diffusion line in 2001, and eventually leaving Vuitton in 2013, Jacobs has built himself quite an empire in the ready-to-wear fashion world over the last 20 years.
Although still around, Mecca USA never quite maintained the hype it first received back when it launched in 1994. Aiming to provide “fashion-forward urban apparel to the masses,” the streetwear label was worn by the likes of rappers and TV stars such as Notorious B.I.G. and Will Smith during the ’90s heyday of hip-hop. Expanding into womenswear with Mecca Femme in 2002, the brand’s reach never picked up again. Most recently, Mecca USA partnered up with lifestyle brand Supernatural Inc in an effort to boost recognition. However, it seems the brand’s days are all but numbered.
Launched in 1990 under the name Twen, Isabel Marant changed the name of her brand in 1994 to much greater success. With origins in knitwear and jersey garments, the boho-chic line quickly grew in popularity, along with the launch of a second line, Etoile. Fresh from a much-hyped and sold out collection with fast-fashion retailer H&M, the Parisian label is undoubtedly at the height of its fame right now, with no signs of slowing down. Having delved into menswear for the first time with the H&M collab, Marant has hinted at the possibility of a full collection sometime in the future.