Louis Vuitton x Supreme has created enough column inches to go down as one of, if not the, most talked-about collabs in history.
One factor that made the collaboration so controversial was its astronomical pricing. With all items being produced and distributed by Louis Vuitton rather than Supreme, the collection was always going to sit in the luxury brand’s price structure. Once you factor in the collaboration aspect and the limited production, prices once again increased on top of LV's regular pricing.
A $484 T-shirt or a $935 hoodie may seem expensive compared to regular Supreme pieces, but considering their extortionate resell prices — up to $2,000 for the tee and $5,000 for the hoodie — there's clearly a thirst for the gear, and an opportunity for resellers to make some serious profit.
Box logo tees and hoodies are pretty straightforward items to sell on the secondary market, but what about the items at the higher end of the pricing spectrum? By far the most exclusive and expensive items from the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collection are the made-to-order trunks.
Louis Vuitton was only 16 years old when he moved to Paris to become an apprentice trunk maker. His "Malle" trunk was the first to feature a flat top and bottom, making it stackable and more easily transportable. These trunks would become the foundation of his self-titled company, and they've been a Louis Vuitton mainstay since 1858.
Both the Louis Vuitton x Supreme trunks are bespoke, made-to-order items, and that's reflected in their price tags. The Boîte skateboard trunk retails for $46,000, and the Malle Courrier 90 trunk commands a whopping $57,000(!).
Rich kids have always splashed huge sums of cash on flashy items. Traditional status symbol brands such as Hublot watches, Cartier jewellery and Brioni suits are being sidelined by a new generation of teenage millionaires whose tastes lean more towards streetwear. To a lot of these kids, Supreme is the ultimate status symbol due to its limited production runs, huge resale value and dedicated online following.
Social media has allowed those with the financial means to buy up entire Supreme collections on the secondary market and then flex them as online bragging rights. The fact that so many of these so-called “grails” are then quickly resold to similar buyers for the same reason means you end up with the same products constantly changing hands for increasingly huge sums.
Maybe the thirst for Supreme will become so huge that in the near future only those with eye-watering bank accounts will be able to afford a sizable collection. I have no idea if the kids buying this stuff are into any of Supreme’s eclectic references — like Bad Brains, Lou Reed or Lee Scratch Perry — or if any of them are interested in skateboarding.
Having followed Supreme for over two decades, I find the contrast of hanging out in the old Lafayette St. store — where chatting shit was more important than buying clothes — to the excessive sums of money changing hands for this collaboration somewhat bizarre.
I was fascinated to find out what possesses someone so young to part with what's essentially a house deposit in exchange for an item of luggage.
Is it down to a love of Supreme, for online bragging rights or a gamble on making some resell profit?
Tair Niyazo, aka @lvjarko, is a 15-year-old school kid from Hong Kong, who's now the proud owner of a Louis Vuitton x Supreme Malle Courrier 90 trunk.
Chay, aka @chaygodfrey, is an 18-year-old student from Buckinghamshire who recently launched his own reselling business. He believes he's the first person in the UK to own not one, but two of the Louis Vuitton x Supreme skateboard trunks.
What’s your history with both brands, are you coming at this as an existing Supreme customer, an existing Louis Vuitton customer, or a collector of both/neither brands?
Tair: I am an existing Supreme customer and collector, but was not a particularly big fan of Louis Vuitton.
Chay: For the past three years I have been a huge fan of Supreme, both collecting and reselling their products. I also own a few pieces of LV, but nowhere near the amount of Supreme pieces I have.
With the trunks being by far the most limited of all pieces, how did you manage to acquire one (or two)?
Tair: In order to get the trunk I had to pre-order it at Louis Vuitton’s Hong Kong store back in March, when pre-orders were taking place.
Chay: I was given the opportunity from a good friend of mine who is a high-valued client at Louis Vuitton. He knows my passion for Supreme, so he told me he was able to get the skateboard trunk as he has a close relationship with his LV rep.
Why did you decide to purchase the most heavily priced item from the collection?
Tair: At the time I felt that the trunk was very limited, therefore I feel that the value is going to increase sooner or later.
Chay: I knew how exclusive the trunk was going to be and how no one that I personally know would own one. I like the idea of being one of the small amount of people to own the trunk and probably the only person in the world to have purchased two directly from Louis Vuitton. I pre-ordered my first trunk back in February, then had the opportunity to buy the second trunk the following month.
How did you get the money for this?
Chay: To raise the funds for such an extraordinary amount of money I have a part-time job and also trade stocks on the stock market, as my father taught me. A lot of my money came from my reseller business "Deadstock London" but, being an 18-year-old still in college, I didn't have the whole £73,000 for both of the trunks. My father kindly helped me out as he wants me to move forward and do bigger and better things in the future.
As 99.9% of people who read this will never own this item, please talk us through the trunk: How was it was packaged, what’s included and how does it feel?
Tair: It was actually packaged and sent out quite poorly — there wasn't even a proper box securing the trunk. The quality of the actual trunk is good as it’s quite light, and designed perfectly.
Chay: The trunk is simply a piece of art and has been crafted to perfection just like all of the other Louis Vuitton trunks. This Supreme version makes the normal LV trunks look basic because of the red and white finish.
The trunk is made through the same process LV has been using for more than 100 years — handcrafted using three different types of wood and the best quality leather out there. It contains a skate deck, a tool kit, trucks, wheels and a shoulder strap.
Talk us through the shopping experience with Louis Vuitton.
Tair: The London pop-up was okay, although some fights did break out outside the venue, which I managed to keep away from. When I left the store I did notice some unusual behavior from people that were still waiting to get in. I was lucky enough to have my backpack where I kept my new items securely when leaving the store.
Chay: Because my close friend is a VIP client of Louis Vuitton I was invited to their suite where I was given a briefing of the trunk, what would be included and the procedure of production. After that I made my first payment of £36,500.
Like most businesses, Louis Vuitton wants to ensure that their customers are happy, but the service they provide is by far the best. When a customer is paying so much money for one item, they want to ensure that everything is done to perfection.
With all of the pop-up shops now being shut down, and some cancelled altogether, do you feel like the luxury fashion houses aren’t quite ready for the way that streetwear fans shop?
Chay: The pop-ups were crazy and manic with people jumping the line, fighting and paying people to let them cut the line.
I feel that Louis Vuitton struggled to estimate the demand for the release and they should have been better organized with a fairer system in play for everyone.
Being a luxury fashion house I don't think they knew the hype and demand of these products. Supreme should have given LV a strong indication about the way streetwear shoppers shop and the amount of money they are willing to spend on these items as the quantity of stock was very minimal.
Personally I feel that this is a good thing for me as it shows the exclusivity of the collection, but for others this was disappointing.
What are your plans for the trunk, is it a classic piece for life or something to stunt online then sell on for a profit?
Tair: I am unsure what to think about selling this collectible piece as it may increase in value over the years. Like any other pop-up exclusive, it will disappear after a certain time to only make it a collector's piece.
Chay: My plans for the trunk are to flex it online and take some cool pictures. Then when I have done that I will be considering offers from people who want to buy the trunk. The trunk is a piece of art and, as everyone knows, art moves hands from time to time, so that's what I'm planning to do once I receive a reasonable offer.
If you decide to sell then what sort of markup are you looking to make with this particular item?
Chay: Online I have seen this particular trunk selling in the £100,000 mark but I wouldn't like to put an exact price on the trunk as I feel you can't place a price on an item where there is nothing to compare it to.
No one knows an exact price like your average YEEZY, Supreme piece and other sneakers, which may vary between £200-1,000. This trunk is an item which is just one of a kind.
Have you had anyone reach out to you with an offer to buy your trunk?
Tair: Some people have reached out to me regarding the trunk as I was the first one to have it delivered. To me the trunk is more of a collectible piece, as all of the Louis Vuitton trunks have been in the past, so over the years my trunk will increase in value.
Chay: I haven't had anyone reach out to me yet for the trunk and this is because I haven't really tried to sell it. I have had interest from a lot of people asking questions such as the price, do I have it in hand, when am I planning to sell it, etc, but no one has given me a direct offer yet.