#GramGen is a series profiling the most radical characters in youth culture, who continue to shape trend behavior and spark controversy through their avant fashion sense and candid social media personalities.
Meet Eric Whiteback, the 21-year-old Pennsylvania native with a modest obsession for Supreme. $50,000 worth of grails, to be exact. Perhaps you recognize Whiteback from that viral "I Woke Up Like This" picture that circled the blogosphere a few months back? Yeah, so do we.
We caught up with Eric to chat about what first piqued his interest in streetwear, why he's so hyped on Supreme and how he deals with haters on Instagram.
How old are you?
Where are you from and where are you currently based?
I currently live outside of the Philadelphia area. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania my entire life.
What first got you interested in streetwear/fashion/sneakers?
The first time I really got into the fashion scene was back in the mid-2000s when everyone was rocking Billionaire Boys Club. For me, it all started with the helmet tees and Bapesta kicks. That being said, I can’t really pinpoint a specific event that got me started. I think I’ve just always been enamored by fashion and how clothing can be used to represent personal style and taste. It’s really been a steady progression for me.
Do you only collect Supreme?
Honestly, I don’t really consider myself a collector. I feel like that label belongs to people like my brother Joe (@joemigraine), who has almost every Supreme accessory, pin, keychain and sticker ever made. If you’re referencing the “Supreme Wall” that’s in the background of a lot of my pictures, that’s his. I like to think of myself as more of a discerning shopper. I buy what I like and I wear it; it’s as simple as that.
How much Supreme do you think you own?
Actually, I don’t have to guess on this one. I just documented my inventory for insurance purposes. I won’t give exact numbers, but I own well over 300 unique pieces with a conservative valuation exceeding $50,000. Much of what I own is from older seasons when I purchased it at or below retail. Due to Supreme’s appreciation in value, I’ve barely spent a fraction of $50,000 in accumulating my inventory. These days I get a lot of what I wear for free.
There’s about a million different things I could answer here. But the truth is my guilty pleasure in the world of fashion is jumpsuits and coveralls. I’ve got about five or six pairs, ranging from Supreme to RRL. It sounds funny, but I could wear the Adam Kimmel x Supreme jumpsuit on the daily.
What is it about Supreme that you love so much?
In the industry, Supreme is the only brand that’s been able to sustain extremely high demand with any amount of longevity. If you take a look into their marketing scheme and business model, it becomes clear why they’re so successful.
When the wave of hype comes, they don’t increase their supply like everyone else does. Name one other clothing store in America that always has a line outside of their door, yet refuses to expand to new locations. Supreme is a zig in a world of zags.
Do you get a lot of hate on IG? How do you respond to the haters?
I don’t get too much Instagram hate...just enough to keep me laughing and having a good time. I’m a huge advocate for being able to laugh at yourself. When someone comments or DMs a funny diss, my immediate reaction is to screenshot it and send it to my friends. I’m all about having a good laugh.
Do you think streetwear is changing for the better or worse?
Definitely some of both. I think the fusion of high-end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci with streetwear brands is a great trend. It’s awesome to see a $32 T-shirt being the focal point of a fit that retails for thousands. It adds value to the culture.
There are also some industry trends that give me pause. For example, the competition to get product is crazier than ever. I remember going to SoHo and walking into Supreme and BAPE with no lines (even on release days) just a few years ago. Now people wait in line for an hour to get in on Tuesday and the store is almost empty since everything is sold out. In that sense, I certainly miss the good old days.
Other than Supreme, what designers do you admire?
In terms of other brands, there’s definitely a wide range of styles that I draw from. I think RRL releases great menswear pieces year after year, but I’ll also wear a BAPE ape head logo tee from time to time. I would say I’m pretty high on the Japanese fashion scene as well. Even though it can be almost impossible to find in the states, I have always been a huge fan of F.C.R.B. and SOPHNET.
If you could collect anything outside of fashion, what would it be and why?
Before I was into fashion, I used to have a huge sports memorabilia collection. It was anything Philly sports, especially the Phillies and 76ers. I’ve since sold the collection for quite a bit of money, but if I were to get back into collecting something it would probably be along those lines. Maybe I’d buy all the throwback 76ers jerseys of my favorite players over the years. Mutombo being the first!
In the short term, I’m working on chronicling every Supreme x The North Face jacket ever made on my Instagram. Much love to my friends @shvxdy and @bkthegod for photographing and styling the whole thing. In the long term, I don’t want to tip my hand too much, but my future definitely holds something in the world of fashion. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what’s next.
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