For some people, buying clothes isn’t just a periodic activity, but a full-fledged lifestyle that requires trend surveillance, a keen knowledge of the resale market and deep pockets.
Collecting “hype” garments, particularly in streetwear, is something that has turned normal, everyday people from all over the globe into profitable merchants and even micro-celebrities with strong social media followings and sizable clout in the #industry.
For the latest installment of The Vault, we peeped inside the closet of ultimate Supreme collector and Instagram sensation Joe Migraine, brother of #GramGen star Eric Whiteback. Take a look at some of Joe’s most coveted gear and read up on his spending habits below.
How long have you been collecting Supreme?
I began collecting Supreme seriously in 2011. At that time, there wasn’t a checklist of items or an archive to reference. I dedicated a great deal of time to researching forums, social media and Google to compile lists of every accessory that had ever been produced.
I was scooping up as much old product as I could. I remember paying $100 for the Supreme x Spalding basketball and thinking that I was crazy at the time, but that turned out to be a wise purchase. Looking back, the prices on things then were absurdly low.
Since 2011, I’ve bought one of every accessory on the web shop each season and I visit the New York store whenever I can. To this day, there are only four or five accessories from Supreme’s entire history that I don’t own at least one of.
How do you organize your closet? (by brand? color? season?)
My collection isn’t really organized in any specific way. I put new items wherever I can find space for them on my wall. It has gotten to the point where I can hardly walk around my place.
It’s crazy to go back through my photos and see how much my collection has grown over the past few years. What I post on my Instagram isn’t even close to everything I have. I have boxes and boxes filled with brand new gear that hasn’t even been opened, including several other brands besides Supreme.
How do you take care of your stuff?
I have UV protectant film on my windows to prevent sun fading, and I try to keep my blinds closed whenever I’m not home. I keep a lot of product in waterproof plastic bins as well. Dusting is the biggest headache – it’s a full day project to individually dust every item, but I try to do it if I notice things are starting to get dirty.
Where do you mostly buy your items?
Today, I get almost everything directly from the Supreme web shop. Back in the day, I used to buy on Strictly Supreme, eBay and wherever else I could get my hands on the items I needed. I have been fortunate to connect with a bunch of great people through Instagram since I started posting in 2012. My friends are always on the lookout for the items I need, which makes the search a whole lot easier.
What’s your favorite piece?
I wouldn’t say I have one item in particular that is my favorite. However, some of the small keychains, pins, buttons and stickers that almost never come up for sale are my favorites. They might not be the most valuable items, but the satisfaction of owning them after years of searching is what makes them valuable to me.
What's one piece you'll never get rid of?
I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of my sticker collection. I’ve filled up pages and pages worth of albums (with one of each sticker of each color). There are videos of me paging through them on my Instagram. I get a lot of questions about how to put these albums together.
You can buy albums like the ones I have at any craft store, and I hold the stickers in place with photo corners. As of now, I’m missing less than 10 total stickers, and that includes all colors. I hope to complete it one day and display it in a museum or archive of some kind.
What's the most you've spent on a single piece?
I’ve been fortunate to get almost everything I own at or below retail. Last Fall, I paid $1,000 for the Supreme x Simpson Bike Helmet, which I believe is the most I’ve ever spent on an individual item. However, I’d be willing to spend far more than that if I ever came across a Supreme x Brooklyn Machine Works bike. I estimate that I’ve spent over $50,000 to build my collection.
Do you resell a lot?
My longtime followers know I used to sell duplicates on my Instagram page until a few years ago. Since then, I haven’t resold anything because the value of items only increases as time passes. The longer you hold on to your items, the more valuable they become. Reselling to make a couple bucks every week is a short-sighted approach. I try to have a more long-term view.
What's the value of your collection?
I meticulously keep track of every item I own. Everything is inventoried with extensive detail. The current value of my collection is well over $100,000, although I wouldn’t be surprised if that figure doubles or triples in the next few years. And yes – it is fully insured.
There are a lot of brands out there making great product right now – Neighborhood, Wtaps and visvim all come to mind. However, Supreme is the only brand where you can know with reasonable certainty that the value of their products will be worth far more than their initial retail price.
For me, a collection also has to be a wise investment if I am going to put a lot of money into it. I wouldn’t collect something that consistently goes down in value. There is no sign of a downturn for Supreme anytime in the near future.
I have always focused on Supreme accessories, but I have a big stash of Supreme decks and apparel, along with gear from other brands as well. I have big plans for what I want to do with it all, but I don’t want to go into too much detail right now. You’ll have to keep an eye on my Instagram to find out what’s next.
Find out why this Berlin-based streetwear aficionado just recently sold all of his Supreme.