The Supreme Weekly is a regular column examining and breaking down the influences behind the brand’s weekly drops, courtesy of our resident Supreme expert, Ross Wilson.
Alongside a sizeable capsule with sportswear brand Champion, the latest Supreme drop included a 6-Panel hat featuring a return of the store’s branding reworked by legendary skater/artist and frequent collaborator, Mark Gonzales.
The Gonz’s affiliation with Supreme goes way back to the stores beginning on Lafayette Street, NYC. Whenever overseas on skate trips, Mark would often send postcards to the late Harold Hunter and the rest of the crew at “Supream” (his misspelling), featuring his own doodles and musings, some of which would later make it on to items of clothing from the brand. The Gonz provided early artwork for the walls of the Lafayette Street store and continues to work with Supreme on art installations for their stores in London (Shmoo sculptures), Shibuya (Schminx sculpture), Paris (Priest sculpture) and Brooklyn (wall mural).
Although Supreme has been using the Gonz logo sporadically since 2007, its roots actually go back over 15 years prior and can be traced to the formation of Gonzales' skateboard company, Blind, which was founded under the World Industries distribution umbrella.
After becoming disillusioned with his long-term board sponsor, Vision, The Gonz wanted more creative control over his career so he teamed up with fellow skater Steve Rocco to form Blind. The World Industries founder Rocco had already been kicked off the team of skate company SIMS (also owned by Vision boss Brand Dorfman), so was happy to give Gonzales his opportunity to get back at their old boss. The name Blind was an intentional diss at Vision, which had become the largest skateboard brand of the time thanks to huge selling pro model boards from Gonzales and Mark “Gator” Rogowski, plus the explosion of their apparel offshoot, Vision Street Wear. With Rocco’s cutthroat business savvy and Mark’s artistic flair, the new brand took off immediately, building up a roster of young talents such as Guy Mariano and future Hollywood star Jason Lee.
Gonzales designed the original Blind logo in 1989, which, despite his departure in 1993, is still used by the company today. The handwritten logo helped make the brand one of the biggest skate companies of the ‘90; notably, it was included on the pocket of Blind's hugely popular baggy jeans which became a wardrobe staple in the “big pants/small wheels” era of skateboarding.
Blind hit its peak with the Spike Jonze directed “Video Days” video, starring Gonz, Lee, Mariano, Rudy Johnson and Jordan Richter. The groundbreaking film, released on VHS in 1991, was a defining template for the genre and is still widely considered one of the most influential skate videos of all time.
Given that Gonzales occupies such an important place in skateboarding history, it was only natural for Supreme to collaborate with their long-time friend. Supreme enlisted Gonz to rework their branding in the exact style of his original “Blind” logo in 2007, with it appearing on a short sleeve T-shirt, a long sleeve crewneck sweatshirt, and a New Era 59Fifty fitted cap.
The Blind homage came full circle in 2014 with the arrival of the Supreme Skate Jean. Released during its 20th anniversary year, these jeans paid tribute to the style of the '90s and were a notable departure from Supreme’s usual aesthetic. The baggy stonewash denim came in a choice of five colors and was an almost exact reworking of the era-defining Blind pants which featured Gonz’s signature logo embroidered on the front coin pocket and on the tab of the back pocket. The style was so popular that Supreme offered the silhouette in three muted autumnal colors the following season and as denim shorts in 2015.
In addition to the Blind-inspired logo, his various designs for Supreme include Ramm, Schminx, Butterfly Clown, Piss Face, and Supream, which have been featured across multiple T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, skate decks, basketballs, stickers, hats and accessories over the years.
This season, the infamous Gonz logo returns, appearing on the aforementioned 6-Panel hat, a pullover hooded sweatshirt and an embroidered coaches jacket. Despite being hailed as “the most influential skateboarder of all time” and having pretty much invented the genre of street skating, The Gonz is a super chilled-out and enthusiastic guy who can regularly be spotted cruising around downtown Manhattan on his bike or skateboard.
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