If you haven't heard (in which case, welcome back to planet Earth), stalwart NYC skate brand Supreme and heritage French luxury house Louis Vuitton have recently unveiled their FW17 collaboration at Paris Fashion Week. Many are calling it one of the most important pairings in fashion history, a union between two of the most iconic names in the world that represents the ultimate wall-breaker within the realms of street and luxury.
It was only a few weeks ago that rumors of an alleged collaboration were swirling around the blogosphere, when leaked photos of pieces emblazoned with both LV's monogram and Supreme's box logo had streetwear and high fashion communities whirring at their keyboards with furor.
Now, already some days after its confirmation, Supreme x Louis Vuitton is still the most popular topic around the fashion water cooler – and it's probably going to be for a while. A brand that, in 2000, once tried to sue Supreme for lifting its precious logo is now embracing it with open arms, showing just how far the industry has come to accepting the market's coexistence of streetwear and high fashion.
Amidst all the hype, what surprised us most was just how how seamless the collaboration really felt. But do others think the same? I reached out to a few industry insiders as well as some of the most dedicated influencers in streetwear to find out...
What were your initial thoughts on the collaboration?
Bobby Hundreds, The Hundreds: The collaboration itself wasn’t unexpected. The rumors had circulated. Plus, understanding Kim Jones’ relationship with the Supreme brand, seeing James at the shows, and watching the skate/street/fashion worlds coalesce, it seemed logical. But, the product assortment – the sheer number of pieces – was surprising. I don’t think anyone foresaw that. I haven’t seen any of it in person, but the collection seems well-crafted and considered. My first thought was, “Wow, this looks like it was a lot of fun to put together.” It inspires me to work harder, to achieve milestones like these in my career.
Chris Gibbs, UNION LA: Honestly, I was blown away. I hadn’t actually seen the gear yet, but my initial thought was amazement. Supreme just keeps fucking doing their thing! I say congrats, job well done!
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A: I think this will be one of the most interesting and most talked about collaborations that ever happened; it will become a reference point in fashion history of how two masters of branding have come together to create a collection to satisfy such a diverse group of customers. From a retail and marketing point of view, I find it brilliant!
Keith Hufnagel, HUF: For me it's great to see people doing projects other than the obvious. So Supreme collaborating with LV brings it to a higher level and shows people that anything is possible.
Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor, Dazed: At first, a kind of surprised disbelief. It seemed like something dreamed up by a feverish hypebeast with loads of their parents cash to splash. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense – and if anyone is going to take this on, Kim Jones is the person to do it.
Julien Boudet, Photographer: At first I really thought it was just a rumor and it would never happen. For me it really is one of the most unbelievable collaborations ever!
Ross Wilson, DJ/Writer/Streetwear Collector: This was actually one collaboration that took me by surprise; I'm often fortunate enough to hear about projects fairly far in advance but everyone did a great job keeping this on the low.
To be honest, I was pretty overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the thing – the amount of pieces in the collection and the fact it debuted in such a huge way at PFW was pretty mind-blowing!
KicksTQ, Streetwear Influencer: I didn't think it was for real. I'm still pretty surprised about it.
Mike The Ruler, Streetwear Influencer: My initial thoughts on the collaboration were mixed. Although I felt it was almost a copout, it's easy to understand why it was such a good idea from a business standpoint.
Brandon Faber, Streetwear Influencer: I initially thought that this is going to be crazy. Two brands that have arguably the most identifiable logos in fashion, and now finally officially collaborating. Even if you like or hate it, this is huge for streetwear as it becomes even more intertwined with high-end fashion.
Dom Wallace, Streetwear Influencer: I thought it was fake until I saw the actual show; I thought it was pretty funny due to Supreme's history with LV.
What are your favorite pieces, if any?
Bobby Hundreds, The Hundreds: I admit, I haven’t studied the collection’s entirety, but I love that black epi keepall bag. I think about what I would have selected if I had the same opportunity, and that’s where I would have started.
Chris Gibbs, UNION LA: I haven’t seen the collection in full.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A: I loved the red backpack and the trunk style briefcase.
Keith Hufnagel, HUF: The trunk.
Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor, Dazed: I think the pieces which incorporate the monogram with the Supreme logo are the strongest – they remind me of the kind of bootlegs you might find in a dodgy Asian marketplace or on Ava Nirui’s Instagram feed. It’s another take on the official fake (like those wildly popular Gucci cruise T-shirts); a trend which calls into question ideas of authenticity and originality, both of which are concepts that are central to Supreme and Vuitton as brands. The denim is particularly good, and I like that it’s a nod to something Marc Jacobs did at the house.
Julien Boudet, Photographer: I haven’t really seen the whole collection but from what I saw, I think I’d say the denim jersey. It’s a really cool piece, but again it depends on how you style it – it could look pretty bad if it’s not worn properly.
Ross Wilson, DJ/Writer/Streetwear Collector: I've not had a close enough look at the whole collection, but it looks like there are definitely a few nice accessories in there: the keychains, baseball bat, scarf, etc. The skate decks look particularly nice.
KicksTQ, Streetwear Influencer: The box tees, the denim jacket, black backpack, black fanny pack, red duffle and the camo cap.
Mike The Ruler, Streetwear Influencer: The large trunk, camouflage denim jacket and small black epi camera bag are my favorite items from the collaboration.
Brandon Faber, Streetwear Influencer: The camo bag/backpack and the trunk are dope. The rest looks just like the fakes you find worldwide.
Dom Wallace, Streetwear Influencer: I haven't properly looked but the denim monogram jacket looks mad nice and some of the smaller bags look pretty sick.
In 2000, Louis Vuitton sent Supreme a cease and desist letter for ripping off its iconic logo. Do you think it's ironic that LV is now partnering with Supreme?
Bobby Hundreds, The Hundreds: Not at all. Who knows what their legal counsel situation was at that time. Chances are the individual who fired off the letter 17 years ago isn't the same one who signed today’s contract. When partnering with these larger companies, the regimes are constantly shifting; politics move around, and although the brand stays consistent, in-house it’s another story.
Supreme was a different brand 17 years ago – scrappy, punk, underdog. Skateboarding was invisible and subversive, while high fashion was unattainable. Today, the circle is closing. What’s underground is mainstream and vice versa - the classifications are not applicable; we’re dealing with a new hierarchy. So, the attitude has gone from “getting over" to “working with,” and Supreme can do that now as a ubiquitous brand.
Chris Gibbs, UNION LA: I guess if you were living under a rock for the last 15 or so years and you came out and saw this you might think that…but times have changed. Supreme has grown into one of the top brands of the planet. The line between “streetwear” and high fashion has been actively blurred by both sides of the coin. Not to mention that I think Kim Jones is a fiend of the brand, so it makes sense.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A: What I am mostly surprised by was, when I saw the show, it seemed so familiar! The two worlds are connected or, to better phrase it, they show on the catwalk what has been happening for years now between the young generation of customers. Everyone is mixing high and low now so it's not shocking to me nor ironic. But it is brave and extremely intuitive for someone like Mr. Kim Jones to make this happen and bring this energy to the epitome of luxury: Louis Vuitton!
Keith Hufnagel, HUF: This is what it is all about. They bootlegged LV and now LV is working with them. Classic skate/streetwear style!
Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor, Dazed: To an extent, as is Kim Jones paying tribute to iconic designer Dapper Dan (who had to go underground after fashion houses went after him for his blatant thwarting of their logos). Mostly I think it’s a sign of the times. Perceptions are shifting; people are waking up to the fact that menswear is much more dynamic than just what’s on the runways.
Julien Boudet, Photographer: It is definitely ironic in a way, and at the same time it proves us once again that even the most unexpected things can happen in fashion. There are no rules anymore, especially in 2017.
Ross Wilson, DJ/Writer/Streetwear Collector: I think it's pretty impressive that the establishment has come full circle and now requests to work with the "outlaws" they once saw as copyright thieves. It shows how much times have changed and just how far Supreme is now elevated from its former contemporaries.
People talked about how Kanye West opened the doors to the mainstream when he invited all those British Grime MCs on stage at the Brit Awards, well I guess this is the fashion equivalent - a classic French fashion house working with a downtown skate store/streetwear brand... it's a game-changer.
KicksTQ, Streetwear Influencer: In a way, but that's the past.
Mike The Ruler, Streetwear Influencer: I do think that it's ironic but it is also important to understand the development of the brand since then. I actually used to own the LV monogram-inspired tee among a few other pieces from that collection.
Brandon Faber, Streetwear Influencer: It's ironic, although eventually I expected it as times have changed and this is a smart marketing move for both parties.
Dom Wallace, Streetwear Influencer: I think it's really funny to be honest; 17 years ago LV wanted nothing to do with Supreme and now their show was dominated with box logos. Just goes to show how much some popularity can do to a brand, and how the spotlight can make anything popular.
Does this collaboration make sense, given fashion's current cultural climate?
Bobby Hundreds, The Hundreds: Not only does it make sense, it’s almost expected. Supreme and LV are luxury heavyweights, and have more in common than the market thinks. Just because Supreme is pegged in the streetwear category, I wouldn’t say it is – especially juxtaposed with other names in that space. Their attitude, distribution model and long-term strategy are more akin to a 100-year-old fashion house. They just happen to use sweatshirts and graphic tees as their medium.
Chris Gibbs, UNION LA: Guess I just answered that.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A: Our fashion current climate is in favor of collaborations. It is the best and safest way for a brand to expand into a different type of customer and a different market without losing their identity or their traditional customer basis. With a successful collaboration you give something new and fresh to your existing customers while tapping into a whole new world of customers that traditionally wouldn't buy from your brand.
However, talking specifically about Louis Vuitton and Supreme, I think that they go far beyond this; they are brands starting from a completely different place but the journey and the customer they target is the same – the one that loves branding! This is why this collaboration will be an iconic one, since you have two iconic logos on the same product.
Keith Hufnagel, HUF: Does anything make sense? So yes it makes sense!
Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor, Dazed: Absolutely. The established hierarchy of fashion doesn’t make sense any more when you can buy a Vetements hoodie at Dover Street Market for an eye-watering amount of money, or when COMME des GARÇONS are backing a brand like Gosha. The old rules don’t apply anymore and this is the definitive proof of that. I’ve heard so many different opinions – from people being overjoyed that street culture is getting recognized on such a stage to people thinking that Vuitton are too removed from those same streets to interpret them. Really though, I think that a LV x Supreme monogrammed cap is a perfect symbol of today’s fashion culture. Julien Boudet, Photographer: It does make a lot of sense, streetwear is gaining more and more respect/importance in the industry – it’s very interesting to witness! The last couple of years have shown us that streetwear has a huge market that has been growing season after season. It's also related to the hip-hop scene; all these new rappers becoming more and more involved in fashion, therefore it wasn’t surprising to see Travis Scott attending the show wearing the Supreme x LV pieces.
Ross Wilson, DJ/Writer/Streetwear Collector: It makes sense in the way that it's two brands at the top of their game showing their mutual respect for each other. It feels very much like an LV collection (as opposed to a Supreme one) but I like the fact that Supreme has incorporated strong elements of NYC in certain pieces – the nod to Dapper Dan with the bomber jacket and baseball cap hail back to that old school New York style, albeit with a Parisian price tag!
KicksTQ, Streetwear Influencer: It does. I feel the fashion world needs a complete change and shake-up and this is perfect for that. Supreme can be compared to the LV of streetwear, so to have two giants on both spectrums collaborate is epic. This is also great for streetwear in general. Streetwear brands are now being recognized internationally and worn by some of the most public figures worldwide. This global recognition is well warranted.
Mike The Ruler, Streetwear Influencer: I think the collaboration makes complete sense based on the current status of men's fashion and both brands' significant identity. Now is the perfect time for this to happen in my opinion.
Brandon Faber, Streetwear Influencer: To me it makes sense. As I said before both brands have timeless logos; the collection definitely factors that.
Dom Wallace, Streetwear Influencer: I honestly don't know, I didn't see it coming though. It's pretty out there for names.
Why will you or won't you cop the collection?
Bobby Hundreds, The Hundreds: I won’t. Not that I don’t like it, and not because I’ve only had a few Supreme things in my life, but because I just don’t buy anything. I appreciate things less when I own them, so I’d rather appreciate this project from afar. It’s the best thing Supreme and LV have ever done, and it’s the worst thing they could’ve done for their legacies – it’s everything and nothing. At the end of the day, it’s 100% fun and I have to thank James and Supreme for continuing to give us that after all these years. Fuck the rest.
Chris Gibbs, UNION LA: Hmm..I wouldn't not cop. That said, I am not a line waiter or a 3X the cost Ebayer…so chances of me getting anything are slim.
Stavros Karelis, MACHINE-A: I will as most of these products will become a collector's items.
Keith Hufnagel, HUF: Probably not.
Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor, Dazed: I’ll be trying to get one of the berets with the monogrammed band, which I don’t think is part of the Supreme collaboration. It’s a bit more me than a bright red branded bumbag, but a strength of the collection was that it spoke to different people and markets.
Julien Boudet, Photographer: I do not own a single Supreme piece, so I will probably not get anything, although I think it’s the best collab Supreme ever made.
Ross Wilson, DJ/Writer/Streetwear Collector: Not sure really, I think I'll probably pick up the T-shirt, skate decks and maybe some of the smaller items. I can't see myself remortgaging my house to buy that trunk to be honest!
KicksTQ, Streetwear Influencer: I will because this collab can be considered an important milestone in the fashion world. The collection represents change and holds significance.
Mike The Ruler, Streetwear Influencer: I will actually be reserving and then purchasing the pieces I mentioned before, minus the trunk (that item retails for over $50,000) as the price is clearly out of my range. However, compared to the same trunk by LV, the price is understandable, especially because they already have a devoted client base that will purchase the item. In my opinion this collaboration offers something for everyone, as there are items below $400 (such as bandanas, luggage tags, etc) that almost anyone could save up and purchase if they were motivated to do so.
Brandon Faber, Streetwear Influencer: I won't be copping anything.
Dom Wallace, Streetwear Influencer: Probably won't be buying anything; I'm assuming they'll be LV price points and there is a 0% chance of me being able to afford that. For all things Supreme x Louis Vuitton, click on the following: Supreme x Louis Vuitton: A Triumph or a Nail in the Coffin? Here’s a Much Closer Look at Supreme x Louis Vuitton’s Ultra-Hyped Collab Everything We Know About the Upcoming Supreme x Louis Vuitton Collection