supreme expert ross wilson picks his 6 best references from fw19 main
Supreme

Supreme kicked off the FW19 season with its traditional preview and lookbook followed by the week one in-store and online drops.

The New York brand’s latest collection comprises an impressive arsenal of apparel, accessories, and skateboard hardware that sees it continue partnerships with familiar manufacturers like Schott and GORE-TEX, as well as breaking bread with the likes of Honda and burner phone purveyors BLU for the first time.

Looking to the art world, imagery can be found by artists such as the late Chinese-American painter Martin Wong and Hungarian-born abstract expressionist Rita Ackermann.

As always, Supreme has taken inspiration from a variety of sources — not least its own back catalog — to create plenty of interesting designs. Some are obvious (the Mary J. Blige tee featuring the What’s the 411? cover image), while others are more obscure (the Doves hoodie artwork is lifted from Bulgarian fantasy tapestry).

If you’ve missed them, here are the six most noteworthy references that Supreme pays homage to in its new collection.

Cone Hooded Sweatshirt

supreme expert ross wilson picks his 6 best references from fw19
Supreme

This season’s Cone hoodie pays tribute to German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk, while also nodding to Supreme’s early days. Much like last season’s Apple hoodie, this design was originally featured as a Supreme T-shirt graphic in the late ‘90s (the Apple tee released in 1997; the Cone tee followed in 1998), before coming back as a hooded sweatshirt in 2019.

The cone design is a classic Supreme logo-flip of the cover artwork for Kraftwerk’s self-titled debut album, swapping out the groups name for Supreme branding.

Formed in Dusseldorf in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, Kraftwerk began as part of West Germany’s experimental krautrock scene, before fully immersing themselves in electronic instrumentation and becoming trailblazers for the genre.

Released on November 1970, the eponymous album featured a bold design of a bright red and white traffic cone. Clearly inspired by the pop art style of Andy Warhol, the design was duplicated on the follow-up album Kraftwerk 2, with a bright green cone in place of the original red.

Earflap 6-Panel

supreme expert ross wilson picks his 6 best references from fw19
Supreme

Recycling a previous design once more, Supreme remixes the United States Postal Service logo on the FW19 Earflap 6-Panel hat.

Having first appeared on a 5-panel mesh hat back in 2008, the design then reappeared on a beanie and work shirt for Supreme’s FW15 season. Taking the original “Standing Eagle” USPS logo from 1970, the NYC brand amends the wording to feature the phrase, “You Pledge Allegiance,” while the “U.S. Mail” text is replaced with “Supreme – Fuck What You Heard.”

Levitation Tee

supreme expert ross wilson picks his 6 best references from fw19
Supreme

The Levitation tee features imagery lifted directly from the iconic cover artwork of Chant, the hugely successful album of Gregorian chants by The Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.

The album was released in 1994 (coincidentally, the same year Supreme first opened its doors on 274 Lafayette Street), but was thought to be originally recorded between 1972-1982 in Spain. Marketed as an antidote to the stress of modern life, Angel Records repackaged and re-released the recordings in March 1994, and went on to sell six million copies worldwide.

Save the Planet Tee

supreme expert ross wilson picks his 6 best references from fw19
Supreme

This new Supreme graphic tee features the motto “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself,” infamously coined by the controversial religious organization, The Church of Euthanasia.

Founded in the 1990s by DJ/musician-turned-reverend Chris Korda, The Church Of Euthanasia highlights Earth’s unsustainable population overcrowding and claims to be the world’s only anti-human religion.

Korda first revealed the “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself” slogan at the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York by handing out stickers to convention delegates. The phrase would then become a staple of the church, appearing on banners, stickers, and billboards, and would also title Korda’s 1994 techno EP (which featured the same graphic as the Supreme tee on the vinyl’s label).

Mountain Crewneck

supreme expert ross wilson picks his 6 best references from fw19
Supreme

In stark contrast to the “Save The Planet” tee is the positivity of the Mountain Crewneck. With a design incorporating crests and emblems of North American nature scenes and wildlife, the sweatshirt references “Thank You for the World so Sweet,” a Christian mealtime prayer for children.

However, this being Supreme, the brand cheekily swaps out the final line “Thank you God for everything” with “Thank you Supreme for everything.”

Supreme Is Love Jacket/Pants/Skateboard”

supreme expert ross wilson picks his 6 best references from fw19
Supreme

One of the most popular designs from the FW19 lookbook and preview was the “Supreme Is Love” design that features as an all-over print across a denim jacket and skate pants.

The image of a young American marine corporal named Micheal Wynn was originally used in the 1968 documentary film In The Year Of The Pig. Directed by Emile de Antonio, the politically controversial film about American involvement in the Vietnam War as actually released while the U.S. was still in the middle of its military engagement.

The iconic photo was later (and most famously) used by British band The Smiths, for the cover of their second album, Meat Is Murder, in 1985. Whereas the original insignia on Wynn’s helmet read “Make War Not Love,”  it was changed to read Meat is Murder to match the pro-vegetarian title of the band’s album.

Because The Smiths album cover being is the most recognizable example of this particular image, many Supreme fans were surprised to see what they presumed was a reference to the British band, considering the very public fall-out from former frontman Morrissey back in 2016 where he incorrectly accused the New York brand as being “sponsored by the beef-sandwich pharaoh known as White Castle”.

From Wynn’s original statement of “Make War Not Love” to Morrissey’s “Meat Is Murder,” the soldier’s helmet that was first photographed over 50 years ago now reads “Supreme Is Love.”

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.