To state the obvious, Supreme is a wildly successful brand. I can’t find any financial figures to back up this statement but it’s widely considered as fact. I mean, how could it not be? Every single drop day, without fail, you will see countless scrawny teenagers camping in front of the brand’s stores, briefly inflicting homelessness upon themselves in a desperate attempt to grab hold of a bogo hoodie or a logo-emblazoned brick or a pack of branded toothpicks or whatever it is that the brand is unleashing upon the open market on that particular Thursday.
But there’s another less obvious measure of Supreme’s success, although it’s not one that gets used very often: the consistent chorus of hate that the brand attracts whenever it does anything. You’ve got to be doing something right when you inspire such a polarized intensity of emotion.
Just as there’s no shortage of people out there willing to pay grossly inflated sums to resellers for all those pieces they didn’t manage to snag themselves, you have just as many – if not more – who gather behind their computer screens and type out really mean things about Supreme fanatics. I should know: I get paid to do it all the time, serving as Highsnobiety’s resident Supreme critic-in-chief (or, some would say, general salty-ass critic of everything).
I can’t fully explain it, but there’s something about how rabidly people obsess over Supreme that simply annoys me.
Sure, there’s that element of pathological consumerism that I find both sad and repugnant, but there’s more to it than that: it’s my fundamental inability to understand why people go so crazy over it that frustrates me.
I fail to see what it is that sets Supreme apart from other streetwear and skate brands with products that are more or less the same.
I understand the appeal of its aloof, too-cool-for-school image, but I don’t think that’s the reason why kids cream themselves as hard as they do over Supreme, nor can I come up with an alternative explanation despite countless attempts to do so. The sheer confusion that this causes me is bewildering.
I imagine that there’s a portion of haters who share this sentiment, while others are just mean-hearted human beings who simply want to piss on somebody’s parade.
But observing the way that the brand’s detractors speak to its fanatics, I always get the impression that they’re trying to win some sort of argument and make Supreme fanboys realize that their behavior is fundamentally dumb or illogical.
But this in itself is both dumb and illogical because hate only strengthens their devotion to the brand.
When someone ridicules the things people love most, they feel an instinctive reaction to defend it rather than placidly nod along in agreement. This often creates a siege mentality that only entrenches itself further each time those attacks are repeated.
We saw the same thing occur in the build up to last year’s presidential election: the more the press castigated Donald Trump for all the stupid-ass shit he said and did on the campaign trail, the more his supporters stood by him.
It played perfectly into his conspiratorial narrative and solidified his outsider credentials. His base was angry and motivated, dead set on making its vote count.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the partisan divide, countless Democratic-leaning voters were lulled into such complacency by a media narrative that gave Trump no chance of winning, that many of them didn’t even bother to vote.
In an election decided by less than a single percentage point in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan – a grand total of 46 electoral college votes that would’ve handed Clinton a 15-point victory had they swung the other way – this might have been the deciding factor.
I doubt that any of my numerous articles deriding Supreme have changed the way that its fans feel about the brand. Whenever I’ve mocked its fanboys, they’ve usually responded by leaving vitriolic personal insults in the comments section for me, which is no less than I expect.
Although the debate around Supreme is primarily an opinion-based one, even sticking to the facts – like the brand’s use of shitty synthetic materials or its reliance on perceived value – is no more effective in proving the fanatics wrong because numerous studies have shown that most people have a tendency to clench ever tighter to their views when presented with factual evidence which contradicts them.
This should come as no surprise: after all, there are still idiots out there who believe that the earth is flat, that evolution is a hoax and that climate change isn’t caused by humans, despite scientific consensus standing firmly against them.
Rather than detract from Supreme’s brand, it’s likely that all this hate actually strengthens it. With so many people lining up to say mean things about it, the box logo becomes a badge of contrarian pride in the same way that the term “deplorable” was defiantly adopted by Trump supporters (to borrow another reference from the 2016 election) after Hillary Clinton lobbed it at them as an insult.
Not only is the enemy of our enemy our friend, but it seems that a slight from an adversary is a compliment as well.
Just as I derive a great deal of amusement from the angry comments that cluster at the bottom of my articles, Supreme fanboys probably feel a perverse pleasure in seeing how irritated some people get over their consumer choices, which only adds to the brand’s appeal.
Wearing Supreme then becomes a defiant act of trolling that further perpetuates this cycle of counter-aggravation – and if we’ve all learnt one thing on the internet, that’s “don’t feed the trolls.” But there is one winner in this stalemate: James Jebbia, who must be laughing all the way to the bank.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.
Now go ahead and read why this author is finally sick of Kanye West.