With the release of the now-infamous brick last year, Supreme’s novelties hit their peak ridiculousness — or so we thought. For its Fall/Winter 2017 collection, Supreme has out-done itself with a paperweight filled with $100 notes.
The idea is so insane that when the paperweight was first debuted, many assumed it was filled with fake money. However, according to Supreme’s site, the paperweight contains “U.S. banknotes encased in lucite,” so the money is definitely real. That said, it’s unclear whether it’s all $100 bills or if Supreme have supplemented the pile of cash with fake or lower denomination notes, meaning the paperweight could have anything from $100 to $1,000 inside — although that doesn’t really matter, unless the end consumer plans on breaking it open.
There’s no question that this is one of the brand’s most excessive products to date, but what made Supreme decide to make it in the first place?
One theory could be that Supreme is just provocatively celebrating the excesses of capitalism. The paperweight isn’t the only cash reference in the FW17 collection — that money suit is hard to miss (and honestly looks like something Conor McGregor already owns), but there’s also the 14k diamond cut pendant in the shape of a hundred-dollar bill and the Rifkin safety pouch with the statement “Money Is Always Most Important” on the front.
Supreme pieces fly off the shelves whenever they drop, which obviously is good for business, but the brand has actively resisted “selling out” itself since it started in ’94 — it’s always stayed true to its skate-rat beginnings, despite attracting a rabidly consumerist following. There’s an ongoing joke that fuccbois will buy anything with a box logo on it, which has been proven every time a ridiculously unusable Supreme novelty drops. Buy this and the joke’s on you, basically.
It could also be Supreme’s own version of the so-called “Wealth Pin.” Back in 2014, some shameless entrepreneurs unveiled a completely ordinary badge that cost $5,000, designed so rich people could pointlessly flex how much money they have. “The idea is simple: if you buy something just because you can, you are truly rich,” the website said at the time. “This project is dedicated to wealthy people only, who can afford things average people can’t.” Pass the sick bucket, please.
The Supreme paperweight is kinda the same — nobody needs this, but by buying it (and posting it all over Instagram, of course), you’re telling the world that you’ve got a huge amount of money to spend on obnoxiously pointless objects.
Supreme isn’t the first company to encase money in lucite, though. It’s a common practice in financial sectors — it’s known as a “Deal Toy” — for celebrating the closing of a significant deal. This website even provides a custom “lucite entombment” service for anyone who wants to seal some money in a tomb of polymethyl methacrylate.
The most intriguing aspect of the paperweight is when it comes to the resell market. Supreme has pioneered a new form of consumerism, where a $36 dollar T-shirt instantly rockets in price because of the brand’s hype-based scarcity model. By paying extortionate prices on the resell market, buyers are acknowledging that the item’s cultural value is higher than its material value.
Since the Supreme paperweight has actual money encased in it, and it has basically zero use in the real world, the value of the item is almost indisputable. It’s like a dare to any potential buyers — how high are you willing to go for something that has such an obviously defined value? The same could be said of the infamous brick from FW16.
Whatever Supreme’s intention, in this climate of political and economic instability, encasing money in lucite may not be the worst idea.
In other news, here’s what Highsnobiety staff picked as their favorite pieces from Supreme FW17.
- Photography: Supreme