This week Supreme will release their latest collaboration with world famous boxing brand Everlast. The satin hooded boxing robe and folding exercise mat are the latest accessories from this near-decade-long relationship between the heavyweight champions of the ring and the heavyweight champions of streetwear.
Supreme founder James Jebbia has always been a boxing fan and has previously credited the late Muhammad Ali as “an awesome inspiration as a person as well as an incredible boxer.”
Although their official collaboration with Everlast didn’t arrive until 2008, Supreme’s love of the sport has been evident from the beginning — classic Ali fights were screened on the Lafayette Street store’s TV monitors right from the early days.
To celebrate this season’s latest Supreme/Everlast collaboration, I take a look back at Supreme’s past history with the sport.
Supreme’s love of boxing has adorned multiple t-shirt graphics over the past two decades, with some of their most famous designs incorporating Jebbia's respect for the sport.
Kicking off as far back as 1997, Supreme adopted Thomas Hoepker’s iconic 1966 photograph of Muhammad Ali throwing a punch towards his lens. Many presume the shot was taken in NYC, but it was in fact shot on a bridge overlooking the Chicago River, with the city’s skyline in the background.
The second of Supreme’s boxing t-shirt graphics featured a pair of tonal camouflage gloves hanging from the strings pre (or post) fight. Supreme’s designers swapped out the Everlast branding on the gloves’ sleeve to read “Supreme” in a similar font.
Released alongside this tee was another remix of the Everlast logo, with the both brand’s hometown NYC printed underneath the Supreme design.
The same logo would later be featured on a crewneck sweatshirt, a series of stickers, a New Era fitted cap and a half-zip hooded sweatshirt.
In this year there were a further two Supreme shirts featuring imagery of the great Muhammad Ali.
The “Thrilla in Manila” shirt reproduced the original poster to promote the third, and final, match between Ali and Joe Frazier. Billed as “The Fight of a Lifetime,” the match took place in 1975 in the Philippines and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the sport's history.
The contest's name is derived from the frequent rhyming boast made by Ali that the fight would be a "killa and a thrilla and a chilla, when I get that gorilla in Manila."
The “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” t-shirt graphic took a section of the cover artwork from DC Comics 1978 comic book of the same title. In the 72-page book the Man of Steel teams up with heavyweight champ Ali to defeat an alien invasion of earth, which was drawn by renowned comic artist Neal Adams.
Boxing magazine The Ring was first published in 1922 and was later acquired by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Enterprises in 2007.
For many years the magazine’s front cover featured illustrations of the sport’s star competitors. In 2002, Supreme took elements from a couple of these covers and adapted them as t-shirt graphics featuring legendary boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.
For their SS03 t-shirt collection Supreme dropped a stylized pop-art depiction of Muhammad Ali complete with slogan “The Greatest.” On the back of the shirt's neck was a small Supreme box logo above the iconic boxer's signature.
This was a vintage year for Supreme with some of their greatest t-shirt graphics coming out. One of these great designs featured a boxer's prize-winning belt with the phrase “Undisputed Heavyweight Champion 2005” printed underneath.
In ’06 Supreme produced the “Raging Bull” t-shirt depicting Jake LaMotta propped up against the ropes in the 13th round of his final fight with Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951.
Bronx-born LaMotta, is often acknowledged as one of the toughest boxers of all time – a world middleweight champion who fought the mighty Sugar Ray Robinson on six occasions. To say LaMotta led a checkered life is an understatement, and his life story was the basis for Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull which is frequently regarded as the greatest boxing movie of all time.
For their third installment in their photo tee series, Supreme looked to Brooklyn-born former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson as their star subject. The tense photo shoot took place in a Las Vegas hotel room and casino, with photographer Kenneth Cappello later revealing that Iron Mike wasn’t in the mood, and spent their few allocated hours cursing him out and intimidating his assistants.
This year saw Supreme’s first official collaboration with boxing giants Everlast.
Although now synonymous with boxing, the company started out as a swimwear manufacturer in the Bronx back in 1910. 17 year old swimmer Jacob Golomb was frustrated with poor quality of swimsuits so started to produce his own suits that he guaranteed would last for a full year — hence the name “Everlast”.
Seven years later Golomb was introduced to a young fighter named Jack Dempsey who asked him to produce some protective headgear for boxing training. In 1919 Dempsey won the world's heavyweight championship wearing boxing gloves made for him by Golomb’s brand Everlast, which would go on to become the leading manufacturer for boxing equipment worldwide.
Kicking off the partnership in 2008, Supreme released a trio of branded Everlast boxing gloves in blue, black and signature red. These gloves are now highly sought-after by Supreme collectors and fetch a heavy price on the secondary market. An accompanying promo short staring New York’s middleweight fighter Peter Quillin (aka Kid Chocolate) training at the Trinity Boxing Club NYC, appeared on the random section of Supreme’s website.
Alongside the collection there was also a series of three matching miniature boxing glove key rings released.
As part of their extensive S/S13 headwear collection, Supreme released the “Super Fight” hat. This 5-panel mesh cap featured an image of Marvelous Marvin Hagler going toe-to-toe with Sugar Ray Leonard to promote their “Super Fight” that took place in a makeshift outdoor arena at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas on April 6, 1987. The controversial fight was then the richest purse in boxing history and it is still debated to this day whether or not underdog Leonard should have been awarded the title.
The following FW season saw a return to working with Everlast by releasing a training hand grip, once again resplendent in Supreme box logo red.
Continuing the training theme, Supreme teamed up with Everlast in 2014 on a collaborative jump rope. The jump rope is intended to increase cardio performance, build endurance, improve coordination and strengthen the hands and wrists.
The most ambitious Supreme/Everlast release to date is the SS16 dual branded punch bag. The leather heavy bag weighs 70lb and is decked out in signature box logo red with Supreme branding on either side. A cheeky script reading “Lights Out” at the bottom was a nice touch. I believe this item was only sold online to avoid customers struggling to carry them out of the store.
Also during the SS16 season was Supreme’s collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. In 1977 Warhol photographed Muhammad Ali as part of his Athlete polaroid series which Supreme released on both a t-shirt and hooded sweatshirt in April 2016, shortly before Ali sadly passed away in June the same year.
For more Supreme know-how, here's the 50 of the brand's greatest accessories of all time.