Highsnobiety / Taran Sodhi

There’s too much at stake now to get caught rocking fake Supreme. Paying hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for a Supreme hoodie or shirt only to find out it’s a Supreme replica may be one of the worst feelings for a streetwear enthusiast — especially if your friends are pointing out and gassing your fake Supreme.

Now more than ever, you’re likely to mistakenly stumble into buying a Supreme replica. Why? Because the business of Supreme has never been richer.

Streetwear is a multi-billion dollar industry in 2019, and at the forefront of it all is James Jebbia’s Supreme, originally founded as a small skate shop in New York City in 1994. Thanks to a private equity firm’s $500 million investment in 2017 for 50 percent of the company, Supreme is now valued at $1 billion—an unprecedented valuation for a clothing brand with no official marketing.

But as Supreme has rocketed in popularity and value in recent years, it’s become easier than ever to ensnare yourself in a fake Supreme trap. Business is booming not only for Supreme but also its counterfeit competitors.

Before you purchase a new Supreme piece on the resell market, be sure to check out our guide to spotting fakes below.

Looking Out For The First Signs Of Fake Supreme

First thing’s first: if the piece looks fake, feels fake to the touch, or in your gut feels fake, then it’s probably fake Supreme. If the price of the item from a reseller is too good to be true, or they’re requesting payment through non-secure channels, don’t gamble with your money.

Standard bank transfers, Zelle, or Venmo won’t help you out if you’re tricked into buying a Supreme replica. If you’re buying from sites like Grailed or eBay, try and buy Supreme from reputable resellers who have had their transactions reviewed and rated by previous customers. In this game, it’s about who you know and who you can put your faith in.

Highsnobiety / Sunny Lau

More experienced buyers can use their Supreme senses to weed out fake Supreme from the real deal, but for those first-time or less seasoned buyers faced with judging the authenticity of a piece, the devil is in the details.

On a Supreme replica, the giveaways come to light when closely observing the stitching on key areas of the garment, the color and lettering of logos, the placement of the neck tags and wash tags, the quality of the drawstrings, and the formatting of watermarks. Only an educated, discerning eye can quickly spot a Supreme replica, so read on to find out how to do so.

How To Spot A Fake Supreme Hoodie

Box Logo Basics

The box logo (or “bogo”) hoodie is the ultimate Supreme staple, leading to it becoming one of the most counterfeited items out there. When evaluating a Supreme hoodie, it’s best to start with an inspection of the embroidered box logo on the front of the bogo hoodie — if it’s not embroidered at all, or lacks a cohesive, high-quality stitch, that’s an automatic red flag.

Along with precisely centered matte white “Supreme” lettering (underneath direct sunlight, fake Supreme lettering can sometimes look greyish), the surrounding color of the bogo should be that deep, rich dark red that’s internationally recognizable. Anything too bright or too dark should raise suspicions.

Looking closely at the embroidered bogo, start with a simple ruler test for the “flying e” flaw. If you lineup a ruler underneath all of the “Supreme” letters, they should perfectly align. In many pieces of fake Supreme, all of the letters align except for the “e” at the end. It can sometimes float just a few millimeters higher than the rest of the letters, but if that space exists, the hoodie is likely a Supreme replica.

After you’ve put down your ruler, take a step back and look at the overall lettering and stitching of the bogo itself. Legitimate bogos have recognizable, consistent spacing between each letter in “Supreme.” None of the letters should come close to touching.

Looking at the individual letters, there should be clear divots at the top of the “p,” “r,” and “m”—that goes for looking at any “Supreme” lettering, whether it’s on the bogo or a tag.

Sometimes, however, the fakes are good. Like, really good. And the signifier of fake Supreme can be something as trivial as poor stitching. Peep the difference between the real (black) and fake (red) bogo below.

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While you’re looking at the lettering, check inside the bogo’s “p” in “Supreme.” There should be an oval or egg-shape comprising the letter’s open space. With a fake Supreme hoodie, that open space inside the “p” will look more circular, or like a “D.” However, this authentication strategy is tougher to depend upon in some cases, because authentic pre-2007 hoodies, as well as present-day tonal colored hoodies, won’t necessarily have that oval “p” shape.

Once you’ve passed those hurdles, zoom back in and observe the quality and direction of the red bogo stitching. On real Supreme pieces, the red stitching behind the white “Supreme” lettering should come in a tight diamond or criss-cross pattern. Identifiable horizontal or vertical stitching will comprise the red background on a fake bogo.

That legitimate criss-cross or diamond stitching pattern should be even more identifiable when looking at the garment inside-out, as its white threads will reveal. When examining the hoodie’s bogo inside-out, the “Supreme” lettering should still be premium, completely white in color, and embossed. If that flipped “emerpuS” isn’t totally covered in tight white stitching, or if the stitching just looks sloppy, that’s a good giveaway that you’ve got a Supreme replica on your hands.

Take a close look at the stitching on the perimeter of the inside-out bogo. A single solid white thread should consistently run through the middle of the inside-out bogo’s red outer stitching — on many pieces of fake Supreme, that white thread will look broken or jagged.

Observing the Neck Tag

If the bogo on your Supreme hoodie seems to pass all of the above tests, it’s time to move onto the even more granular details, like the inside tags. In general, the labels on any Supreme piece should be the easiest part of any legit-check.

The neck tag is the best place to start, because there are a few obvious flaws a fake Supreme hoodie could have there. First, the Supreme neck tag should have that rich red color, and the “Supreme” lettering, like on the bogo, should look clean and clear. The lettering should also sit on the lower third of the red neck tag, or about the width of your pinky finger from the top.

Next to the “Supreme” tag, a smaller red “Made In” tag should be placed a few millimeters to the right. The gap between tags can vary, but you’ll know if it’s fake Supreme if the two tags touch or overlap, and aren’t parallel to each other.

Lastly, the shorter “Made In” tag should extend down and line-up with the lowercase “upreme” lettering on the “Supreme” tag. On some authentic Supreme hoodies, that “Made In” tag may extend a bit past the top of the “e” on the “Supreme” tag, so while it’s good to look after, it’s not a fatal flaw indicating fake Supreme by any means. If the two tags are equal in length, however, then it’s most likely a fake Supreme hoodie.

A Deeper Dive Into Wash Tags

Investigating inside the hoodie further, it’s important to note the stitching and placement of the wash tag. This may be the easiest catch of them all.

On a real Supreme hoodie, the wash tag will be located inside the lower back of the garment, and will have a single straight black stitch line near the top of the tag connecting it to the hoodie.

A small flap of wash tag material should peek out from above that single stitch line — on most fake Supreme hoodies, that flap is either nonexistent or part of a criss-cross stitch connecting the wash tag to the hoodie. Other fake Supreme hoodies can have that single stitch line, but often enough, it’s sloppily done at an angle, or there’s another stitch line above it.

Remember: Legit Supreme hoodies have a wash tag with a single, straight stitch line across the top and small upper flap above that.

Below, the left is fake and the right is real.

Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna
Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna

Drawstrings Are A Dead Giveaway

All of the above fake versus real signs can sometimes take an agonizing amount of time to identify. Want a surefire short-cut? Well, what do the drawstrings on the hoodie look like? Real Supreme hoodies feature flat laces and flat laces only. Their length matters too — the laces should never extend past the embroidered box logo patch. If you see a Supreme hoodie with circular drawstring laces, or laces long enough that drop below the box logo, then you know for sure: That’s a fake Supreme hoodie.

How To Spot A Fake Supreme Shirt

Check The Collar Stitch

Stitching, stitching, stitching. Whether you’re trying to legit-check a hoodie, shirt, or hat, the piece’s stitching will almost always reveal its authenticity. On Supreme shirts, checking for the correct stitching starts at the collar. There shouldn’t be any visible stitching along the neckline on a real Supreme t-shirt, even if it’s just one line. A single seam should bind the collar to the rest of the shirt. When dealing with authentic Supreme long-sleeve shirts, however, some pieces do have a single stitch along the collar, but that’s limited to long-sleeves. If your long-sleeve has two or more stitches at the neckline though, it’s an alert that you may have a fake Supreme shirt in front of you.

Again, Take A Look At The Tags

The stitching on the inside neck tag is also key. Too much stitching, or stitching where there isn’t supposed to be any, can help determine whether or not the garment you’re dealing with is fake Supreme. With real Supreme shirts, a single stitch should run along each edge of the white neck tag. Fake Supreme shirts will often have a double or triple stitch running along those same edges.

The content of the neck tag matters too. Here, the tiniest—and we mean tiniest—of details can expose a fake Supreme shirt. For starters, make sure all of the neck tag’s text is centered, bold, and easy to read. Next, and most importantly, look at the “Made In U.S.A.” print in the middle of the tag, just above the sizing letter. Look very, very closely, because all real Supreme shirts will have a period in between each letter and after the “A” in “U-S-A.” Fake Supreme shirts may skip on the little details, so watch out if there’s a single period missing in “U.S.A.”

Below, the left is fake and the right is real.

Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna
Highsnobiety / Bryan Luna

(For pre-2000 Supreme shirts, the neck tag will look different. It’s likely just a red “Supreme” tag with the size and country of origin on the underside, but again, look for those periods around “U.S.A.” They should all still be there, no matter the year of Supreme you’re looking to buy.)

Flip the neck tag and look for a faint watermark. Below the wash instructions at the top of the tag, right in the middle, there should be a white, translucent all-caps bold “SUPREME” watermark that’s visible under direct light. For shirts made from 2005 to 2007, however, the watermark may say “SUP” and the year it was made, so don’t start a PayPal dispute if that’s the case.

Do start a PayPal dispute if the watermark is quite clearly visible, a yellowish color, not in all-caps, italicized, or all four.

How To Spot A Fake Supreme Photo Shirt

Highsnobiety / Sunny Lau

All Collabs Have Copyright

From Muhammad Ali to Marvin Gaye, and many iconic pop culture figures in-between, Supreme collaborates with dozens of brands and estates every year to create the freshest and most nostalgic pieces. Often enough, that’ll entail printing a well-known image of the collab’s star on the front of a Supreme shirt. On real Supreme shirts, that print should be high quality and resistant to any and all peeling, but even fake Supreme shirts can be hard to spot this way. For a full-proof method, again, turn to the tags.

On the back of the neck tag, there should be text detailing the collaboration’s rights reserved and copyright legalese. Most pieces of fake Supreme will skimp on this tiny, but all-important, detail. So, for example, if the shirt is from the 2013 fall/winter Bruce Lee collaboration, the underside of the neck tag should include the text “® & © Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC” and “All Rights Reserved.” right under it. No matter what collab you’re legit-checking, every collab Supreme does is reflected in the tagging of the garment.

How To Spot A Fake Supreme Hat

Look To The Bogo

At this point, you’re already a master at picking out flaws in the box logo of fake Supreme items. On Supreme hats though, there are a few points of emphasis in legit-checking the bogo. The bogo on the front of a standard Supreme hat should be 3.1 x 1.1 and in that beloved italicized font.

We can’t stress this enough: The font should always be italicized when legit-checking the box logo, whether it’s on a Supreme hoodie or hat. More often than not, fake Supreme hats will have the correct font, but it’ll be bolder and standing straight-up instead of neatly and correctly italicized.

Examine The Cap’s Bill

Some fake Supreme hats will phase out one of its most important parts, which is the distinctive lip on the edge of the bill’s cap. A rounded lip should run along the outer part of the bill — the surface of many fake Supreme hats will come with a completely flat brim, proving how bogus it is. If the rounded brim is there though, and you’re still suspicious, go ahead and count the number of stitches on the brim of the hat itself. Real Supreme hats will have six curved and clear stitch lines taking the shape of the brim. More often than not, a Supreme replica hat will have less than six stitch lines.

Highsnobiety / Christophe van Waetermeulen

The Fold Test

This is one of the simplest and quickest ways to figure out if your new Supreme hat is fake or not. Just fold the hat into itself as you would for storage, and then check the eyelets. When folded, the eyelets located on opposite sides of the hat should lineup so you can see through them. On fake Supreme hats, those eyelets won’t align or will be blocked off by a tag or another material.

As Always, Check The Tags

Tagging is where most of, if not all fake Supreme pieces get it wrong. With most hats, the white inside tag should be about three-quarters of an inch and squared. On the tag itself, there should be a non-bold “MADE IN” text above an American flag, with “U.S.A.” printed right underneath the flag. Beneath all of that will be “Supreme” lettering in all its full and italicized beauty.

On fake Supreme hats, the text “MADE IN U.S.A.” text may be bold, the stars in the American flag will look more like little asterisks, and the “Supreme” lettering will most definitely look, well, not like how the Supreme logo looks, whether the spacing between the lettering is wrong or it’s not italicized.

Still Can’t Tell If It’s Fake Supreme?

The Community Can Help

Hopefully, this guide will give you all the tools needed to weed out fake Supreme from the real stuff. Unfortunately, counterfeit Supreme manufacturers are getting better and better, so with each passing year, it’s become harder and harder to find all the flaws prevalent in a Supreme replica. Even if you’re unsure about a piece after consulting this guide, don’t fret—there are plenty of other ways to legit-check your item.

If in doubt, turn to the online community of Supreme fans and experts. Crowdsourcing a legit-check may be the easiest route for anyone unsure of their own capabilities. On the Supreme Reddit page, there’s an auto weekly thread for posting legit-checks and a comparison guide for fall/winter 2018 box logos hoodies. Alternatively, you can make your own thread for legit-checking an item.

Don’t stop at Reddit though. The eBay community and the most active Supreme reselling Facebook groups can help legit-check too — it’s best to have as many opinions as possible chiming in, so keep going. Instagram is one of the best platforms for legit-checking, as many Supreme superfans will post or perform free legit-checks sent into them via DM.

Legit-checking is a real skill, and only comes with practice and exposure to Supreme replicas, so if you get burned on one sale, do your due diligence to get your money back, but also take it as a learning experience. Notice and take note of what looked off, and keep that in mind for purchases moving forward.

For a deeper dive into Supreme, check below.

Words by Justin Block

Justin Block is a freelance sports and culture writer, editor, and anchor based in Brooklyn. His work has previously appeared in Complex, HuffPost, and SB Nation.

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