Where the runway meets the street

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.

This week, Supreme releases its annual footwear collaboration with New Hampshire outdoor company Timberland, once again working with the brand’s most iconic silhouette, the 6-inch boot.

The Abington Shoe Company first introduced the “Timberland” waterproof workwear boot (Style #10061) in 1973 and the style became so popular it renamed the company after its most successful product. Nowadays, the Timberland 6-inch boot is synonymous with hip-hop culture having built up a cult following on the New York streets throughout the 1990s, where the city’s drug dealers would adopt the durable footwear to combat the harsh weather conditions. With criminal appropriation being a major element to hip-hop style, this look was picked up by East Coast rappers like Biggie, Nas, DMX and Mobb Deep, who then subsequently influenced their fans across the States to adopt the look. Although the outdoor brand was initially wary of its newfound urban association, the hip-hop community couldn’t get enough of its “Timbs” and sales of the iconic yellow boot tripled in the ’90s.

A big fan of the Timberland 6-inch boots were Harlem’s The Diplomats (aka Dipset), founded in 1997 by Cam’ron and Jim Jones. Alongside Freekey Zekey and Juelz Santana, Dipset were the hottest New York crew of the mid ‘00s with a combination of independent mixtapes, street DVDs, flamboyant fashion and genuine crossover radio hits. “Dipset Anthem” could often be heard pumping out of car stereos, street corners and Supreme’s original Lafayette Street store during this era, so when it came to the second installment in their photo tee series there was one obvious subject for Supreme to approach.

In the summer of 2006, Kenneth Cappello was back behind the camera lens to follow up his Supreme/Raekwon shoot, this time with Diplomats’ Juez Santana and Jim Jones as subjects. For the photograph, both emcees (draped in excessive jewelry) donned the classic white/red Supreme box logo tee with Santana rocking his signature slanted bandana and Jones favoring a Supreme/New Era fitted cap.

Supreme Biggie… .Litty 🔥💯✔️

A post shared by thejuelzsantana (@thejuelzsantana) on

The resulting image gives off an effortless, laid-back vibe, but the shoot was in fact a little fractious to say the least. Cappello recalled that Jones wanted to get paid up front before he would even set foot in the Midtown studio – “The vibe was kind of weird on set, a lot of weed and a lot of ego.” Jim Jones later admitted he had no idea who or what Supreme was at the time, claiming it was simply about the cash, but now looks back on the cultural significance of the project with respect and gratitude.

Supreme’s love for Dipset continued with the FW14 release of its much-hyped American flag box logo pullover hoodie that clearly paid tribute to Juelz Santana’s patriotic stars and stripes outfit he debuted towards the end of the video for 2003’s crossover street hit “Dipset Anthem”.

It was also this swirling version of the Star-Spangled Banner that provides the blueprint for Supreme’s latest collaboration with Timberland, where the pattern has been reproduced across the entire upper of the 6-inch premium waterproof boot. Available in both New York hip-hop staple colors of Wheat and Black, the boots are accompanied by a lookbook featuring none other than Juelz Santana himself modeling the footwear.

@supremenewyork / Instagram

With the members of Dipset finally resolving all their past differences to reunite for new material and a sold-out show at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, could we eventually see a follow-up Supreme/Diplomats project to the 2006 classic? Time will tell…

Here’s how Supreme’s boxing references have developed over the past 10 years.

Words by Ross Wilson

Author of Highsnobiety’s regular column “The Supreme Weekly,” Ross has been down with the NY crew since 1994 and has extensive knowledge of the brand’s influences and references.

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