This week, Supreme released its long-awaited preview for its SS19 collection. The brand is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the latest collection honors its origins as a single-door skate shop in downtown Manhattan. Throughout the extensive range of clothing and accessories are multiple references, remixes of logos, and graphics and images sourced from throughout Supreme’s quarter-century lifespan.
While most talk has focused on Supreme’s references to Salvadore Dali, Ghost Rider and the Oakland Raiders, here, we break down the collection and some of the more esoteric inclusions you might have missed.
Old logos revisited
In 1996, Supreme introduced a secondary logo alongside its original box logo design. The logo, inspired by the text of French fashion house Courrèges and reading “Supreme New York,” has come to be known as the classic logo.
Last seen on the back of the SS17 Vanson leather motorcycle jacket, the star logo is used only sporadically by Supreme.
The block capital collegiate logo is one Supreme has used in various guises throughout its history. First featured on a T-shirt in 1998, the varsity-style design was popular with the brand during the early ’00s. This season, it returns on the sleeve of a hoodie.
Not to be confused with the thicker, less curved arch logo that gets used on crewnecks, hoodies, and tees, this thinner, more angular logo is used as a back print — mostly on outerwear — and has been seen on the reverse of various pieces, including the 2010 Champion coach jacket, the 2011 corduroy coach jacket, and the 2013 snap-front sweatshirt.
The tag logo was first seen in 2003 on the back of the Peter Sellers and Charlie Chaplin tees but didn’t feature on the similar Woody Allen and Richard Pryor tees two years earlier. The handwritten script has been left in the archives until now.
Much like the classic logo, Supreme’s script logo is an old favorite from the brand’s golden years. Dating back to 2003, the logo was mostly used as a patch on caps and size labels.
Originally featured on 2012’s “77” tee, the shatter logo is inspired by branding from Tish and Snooky’s famous NYC alternative punk boutique Manic Panic, which opened in 1977.
Supreme’s flip on the vintage Ferrari logo previously appeared on the 2013 GT graphic T-shirt and Grand Prix keychains of 2016.
The Mistral font, originally designed by Roger Excoffon, was most famously used in the late ’80s by rapper Eazy-E and later by his legendary hip-hop collective N.W.A. Supreme renamed its version the FTP logo (an obvious homage) and has used it multiple times over the years. This season, it returns on a cap.
Old designs revisited
Much like the sumo graphic from FW16, the classic ad design brings back an old magazine advertisement from Supreme’s early days. The tongue-in-cheek ad was styled on Calvin Klein’s campaign for its CK One fragrance, which launched in Supreme’s opening year, 1994.
Supreme’s ad featured the OG shop team of Mike Hernandez, Ryan Hickey, Jones Keefe, Gio Estevez, Justin Pierce, and Peter Bici. Ironically, Calvin Klein’s offices were around the block from Supreme and Bici was later booked to model jeans for one of its global campaigns.
This is an early T-shirt graphic, first seen way back in 1997. Like many of Supreme’s graphics, the simple design pays homage to the brand’s hometown of New York City and has long been a revered collector’s piece for Supreme aficionados. There is no T-shirt this time around, with the design instead appearing on a jacket, hoodie, and cap.
Supreme was flipping the logo of New York boxing brand Everlast a decade before the pair officially collaborated in 2008. It doesn’t appear Everlast had any problem with the appropriation of its branding, with the vintage logo returning in 2019 on the warm-up crewneck sweatshirt.
Whereas the 1998 version of the crewneck featured just the logo without a box around it, this new version copies the design from the original T-shirt that first dropped 21 years ago.
King of New York
You don’t need to be a movie buff to know who Christopher Walken is, but the New York legend might have been before some Supreme fans’ time. As it has done with other early ’90s movies such as Goodfellas, Boyz n the Hood, and Menace II Society, Supreme has taken inspiration from Abel Ferrara’s 1990 neo-noir crime thriller King of New York. But those with a keen eye will know this isn’t the first time Christopher Walken’s King of New York character Frank White has appeared on a Supreme T-shirt.
The 2002 “Postcard” tee featured Walken’s character inside the first letter “E” in the word “SUPREME,” alongside other New Yorkers such as Slick Rick, Woody Allen, Andy Warhol, Son of Sam, Jodie Foster’s Taxi Driver character Iris, and New York Knicks legend John Starks.
Among the SS19 collection is the contrast embroidered hooded sweatshirt, which at first glance bears aesthetic similarities to Diddy’s fashion label Sean John. In fact, it’s Supreme’s own take on the Karl Kani hoodie made famous by Tupac Shakur in the ’90s.
LA-based hip-hop clothing brand Karl Kani was a favorite of 2Pac’s, who wore the label in music videos, photo shoots, and live performances. His signature piece was the pullover logo hoodie with contrasting striped cuffs and hem, a product renamed the “Pac Hoodie” and reissued by Karl Kani in late 2017.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Like Walken, most folks will need no introduction to ODB. Since Wu-Tang Clan dropped their debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) in 1993, their sound has had a massive impact on New York City and East Coast hip-hop. Last season saw Supreme collaborate with GZA on a small capsule, paying tribute to his 1995 album Liquid Swords. Now the brand is saluting Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version from the same year.
If the trend continues, we can look forward to an FW19 collection that pays tribute to Raekwon’s classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…, which would mark The Chef’s return to Supreme following the Elmo-and-gun portrait that kicked off 2005’s photo tee series.
As always, Supreme looked to the art world for inspiration. As well as the aforementioned Dali, there are items that feature the work of American artist Josh Smith, who is known for his semi-abstract works.
The Source magazine
Finally, Supreme paid tribute to The Source magazine, the world’s longest running rap periodical. To do so, the brand kept things simple, replacing the usual text with its name and the current year.
This season, Supreme references 18th-century artist François Boucher, classical Greek philosopher Socrates, and OG horror actor Bela Lugosi. It also pays tribute to its skateboarding roots, working with Andy Howell, one of the skateboard culture’s key figures.
A pioneer of technical street skateboarding from the late ’80s through the ’90s, Howell launched legendary companies such as New Deal and Underworld Element. His aesthetic was groundbreaking at the time, mashing up skateboarding with graffiti and hip-hop, and paving the way for skateboard clothing to be adopted by non-riders.
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