BIGGER THAN A BOX LOGO

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Founded 24 years (1994) ago by James Jebbia, SUPREME is arguably one of the biggest brands in the world and in my opinion, a brand that will never and can never die. My previous statement is a pretty rich one considering how street-wear is a very competitive industry and many brands have fallen prey to dying. By dying i don't mean becoming bankrupt or anything, i mean becoming non mainstream, less popular and rarely spotted amongst high profile celebrities.  Some of these  labels that fell off are HBA and PYREX VISION, the brand that was founded by one of the biggest and most popular designers, Virgil Abloh, who re-branded it to the now powerful '' OFF-WHITE ''.

SUPREME is definitely not the regular clothing brand. It is more of a culture and a fashion cult. You probably think i am saying this because of the ridiculous numbers of people and hypebeasts who camp for even days at times to get their hands on the most sought out SUPREME clothing. THE-SUPREME-X-JORDAN-CAMPOUTS-IN-JAPAN-AND-LONDON-ARE-INSANE-1

Which is true, BUT considering that camping has become so common as popular brands are aiming for exclusivity creating a ever hungry resale market. There are more reason to why SUPREME is  not the average popular clothing brand.

BRAND STRATEGY

James Jebbia once said in a rare complex mag interview ' We’ve never really been supply-demand anyway. It’s not like when we’re making something, we make only six of them. But if we can sell 600, I make 400.'

SUPREME is not a supply-demand brand and the fact that theres more people who want it than those that can actually get their hands on it has made it so succesful, a symbol of ' cool ' and a fashion cult. Yes, they are fully aware of the massive resale market that has resellers camping for days to get their hands on a tshirt retailing for USD40. Which will be resold for as much as USD600 or even more. They know they could easily kill the resale market by supplying demand and earn more income for themselves. But they do not. They stick to their motion. You probably think they are dumb for missing out an opportunity to make some major cash, but they are not. Its because of how hard it is to get its original products at retail price that makes it as big as it is today.

Also one of the reasons high profile celebrities like Travis Scott, The Beckhams, Kanye West and almost every celebrity own a piece of SUPREME clothing. WHY? Because they do not want to be seen wearing clothing that any average person may be wearing from day to day or rather clothing that anyone can easily get access to. Would you rather wear a popular brand that every 1 in 2 people you pass by will be wearing or a popular brand that has a few pieces released ( PS : IM REFERRING TO THE AUTHENTIC PIECES ), worldwide, making you feel like a chosen one. Getting high profile celebrities to fall in love with the brand and constantly be seen wearing it in public means their fans will want to know more about it and also get their hands on it to look like their favorite celebrity. This makes the demand even more, but the supply remains the same. Meaning its even more rare and the more rare and sought after something is in the fashion world, the higher the resale price.

SUPREME matches celebrity, fashion enthusiasts and hypebeast needs perfectly due to the exclusivity that comes with not following the usual supply-demand. This alone make them die hard fans and customers for the brand, it becomes a culture amongst this group of people. Most celebrities actually purchase their SUPREME clothing from a regular '' plug '' whose a reseller they really trust to hook them up with latest drops and vintage pieces. Also from sites such as Grailed.com and Instagram resellers such as @CopVsDrop .As much as this branding strategy has contributed greatly to its success today, it has created a ever growing market for bootleg SUPREME. Fakes that look like the exact product SUPREME  and some fake designs that don't even exist. I guarantee you most people that confidently say that they bought their new SUPREME at some shop in town, do not know how hard it is to get SUPREME in the first place or really are just content with wearing fakes. You cannot just buy SUPREME at retail price from a random shop or Instagram boutique. Even though there has been rare cases of finding plain SUPREME x Hanes t-shirts in stores such as TARGET in the US.

ACCESSIBILITY

Getting your hands on SUPREME is far from a walk in the park, especially since most of the people going after it ,willing to do anything at all to get it at retail, are usually resellers. And If you're thinking that number one in line can buy out everything or a lot of pieces giving others a lower chance, you're wrong. SUPREME does not allow multiple purchases at one go. SUPREME does not condone resellers AT ALL, and frowns upon them. To buy the same item you already bought you have to rejoin the line, and by the time you get to the counter again you'll probably meet a SOLD OUT message.

In April 2014 a riot almost broke out at the Nike x Supreme Foamposite One launch. NYPD had to cancel the in-store launch. The shoe retailing at USD250 was expected to resale at USD1000, so you can imagine how chaotic it was, a USD750 profit was to be made ! Here are some photos (sourced from Complex Mag ) of the incident. People wait in freezing temperatures in lines that go on for blocks and blocks in hopes of getting a chance to get their hands on some SUPREME.

Almost all the high end/luxury fashion brands like Gucci have stores all over the world especially in the major fashion cities like Milan, Paris and so forth. If not their own store it is usually found at an official stockist store and website. A few examples are Neiman Marcus , Saks Fifth Avenue and so forth. With SUPREME its a different story. Due to the huge gap between supply and demand, there is almost no merchandise left for stores to stock except the SUPREME website itself which sells out in seconds.

SUPREME has people all over the world, old and young, stuck on their laptop and phones with their friends in hope to get something off the SUPREME website before it sells out, you  always have to be up to date hence how this creates a large following of people who follow the brand religiously, waiting for each drop anxiously. Which is very tough considering the use of bots (automated systems programmed to add multiple items on the cart for purchase increasing the chances of buying more items at once), especially by resellers. The sad part is that due to the high demand for SUPREME, those who truly love it and want to purchase it in order to actually wear, struggle to get the SUPREME items at retail price due to the greedy resellers who want it for obscene profits. But thats life.

Despite its headquarters being in New York, Japan is home to more than two thirds of its official outpost. In his interview with Complex Mag ,when asked about why SUPREME is so popular in Japan and if THEY found him (SUPREME) or if that had been his target market, this was James Jebbias answer, "Yeah. We never pandered to the Japanese customer. We still don’t. It’s more like we’re just trying to make stuff for that real pain-in-the-ass, picky New York kid. And I think that the kids in Japan could see that and say, 'Okay, yeah, that’s legit. There’s nothing else quite like that going on.' Its evident the Japanese discovered SUPREME themselves. Asian fashion enthusiasts especially in the late 90s were greatly influenced by New York fashion and it became a sub-culture. SUPREME might just have been the brand they were waiting for. With its high exclusivity it suits the Japanese fashion consumer needs. They want exclusive clothing, stuff that is rare. To top that they are willing to spend LOADS of money on clothing, when its worth it. Its only right they have more stores considering how the brand is of great influence and significance amongst the Asians.

In the USA, SUPREME has two stores only, one in New York that opened in 1994, Los Angeles 2004. In Europe it has 2 stores, in London, opened in 2011 and the newest one in Paris ( March 10 ,2016). In Japan it has 6 stores, yes 6. Supreme Daikanyama (1998), Supreme Osaka (1998), Supreme Fukuoka (1998), Supreme Harajuku (2006), Supreme Nagoya (2008), Supreme Shibuya (2012). I find this very interesting. For some of the official openings, special edition box logo tshirts accompanied the launch, with those attending being the only ones in the world being granted an opportunity to purchase it.

LONDON LAUNCH SPECIAL EDITION BOX LOGOlondon

A Union Jack box logo tee. Which also included a long sleeve one, rare.

LOS ANGELES LAUNCH SPECIAL EDITION BOX LOGOla

Upto this day, this is the most rare and hardest box logo t-shirt to find, even in used condition. Imagine how much trouble it would be to get an AUTHENTIC new one, even if you do, be prepared to part with a crazy amount of money. A red logo on a white tee with “SUPREME”  translated in Hebrew writing

SHIBUYA LAUNCH SPECIAL EDITION BOX LOGOshibuya

NAGOYA LAUNCH SPECIAL EDITION BOX LOGOnagoya

HARAJAKU LAUNCH SPECIAL EDITION BOX LOGOharajaku

A very rare box logo, made of faux snake-skin,

DROPS

SUPREME only drops on Thursday, 11 AM local time of that particular store. In very limited quantities. This way of dropping has created a ritual type of effect and imposed loyalty whereby those who want to purchase any SUPREME item know that their Thursday has to be set aside for specifically that, kids go as far as missing school and some missing work for that day. As massive as the lines and crowds at any SUPREME store are, there is a better chance of managing to buy what you want at their physical store than trying online whereby the increase of bots results in selling out as fast as 10 seconds after release. However some items may still be available for purchase days after their release, BUT, it will be the most basic and unpopular items. It will be one of those things you just buy for the sake of saying i also own something from SUPREME. All major and hyped up pieces, especially collabs which SUPREME is famous for dropping, sell out in seconds and the next day, that same t-shirt that was USD35-40 will be valued as much as USD600.

Last year in May. a DEADStock (brand new) Vintage SUPREME  1999 Sopranos box logo t-shirt was being sold for a whopping USD5400.

SUPREME is so powerful and highly influential that it releases the most random items, basic day to day items such as a red shovel SUPREME labelled, fire extinguishers, chop sticks and even bricks and it STILL sells out. SUPREME is very famous for these sometimes useless accessories which pop out every season. Trust me, because its SUPREME, that regular shovel will be resold at a significantly higher amount. One of the most ridiculous drops was a SUPREME brick. Retailing at USD30 and selling out in just a day, it went straight to eBay and reseller sites priced it up-to as much as USD1000.

To keep up with drops and to not waste time online looking for what to buy before its sold out, people usually look at the product list that is released before every drop. That way when you go out to try your luck, you know exactly what you want.

COLLABS

Personally, i think this is one of SUPREMEs best strategies. Collaborations have exposed SUPREME to different types of markets, characters and cultures. Another thing is that instead of stealing ideas, they just collaborate. Louis Vuitton once sent SUPREME a cease-and-desist letter in 2000 after their trademark was seen on some skateboards. SUPREME is known to collaborate with  a lot of brands, both very popular and not so popular brands. No matter who they collaborate with, these collaborations tend to sell out even faster and resale for even more. This seems very tactical. Collaborating in Fashion is one of the most essential tools for success and growth, even the legendary Belgian fashion designer, Raf Simons, once said in an interview, '' in fashion you cannot do things alone, it's all about collaboration." In SUPREMEs case, collaborating with both very popular and not so popular brands increases the SUPREME catchment area. This therefore keeps increasing their loyal and large group of customers, but still , production quantities remain the same and the cycle continues.

Collaborating with brands that are totally different from SUPREME itself, for example, The North Face. The North Face focuses mainly on outdoor activity clothing and SUPREME is a street-wear and skater type of brand. Such contrast  yields rare collections which become super popular. In doing this, its almost impossible for SUPREME to die, because you do not know what to expect next and they surely always surprise the masses. If the worst comes to the worst (which i doubt), SUPREME could survive more years in the industry doing restocks because of the very high demand which has not been catered for yet due to selling out in seconds.

My personal favorite and arguably one of SUPREMEs biggest collaborations is the one with Louis Vuitton. Fashion enthusiasts know about the on going debate on '' streetwear is dead '' , meaning that it has greatly evolved and because of people like Virgil Abloh and Kanye West there is now a very thin line in distinguishing street-wear and luxury fashion, but that is a topic for another day. This on going debate can easily use this collab as the base for debate. This collaboration may have resulted in luxury fashion lovers developing an interest in SUPREME and street-wear in general, it also gave SUPREME a strong representation in the world of luxury and high fashion.  Dropping a collection of several items, hoodies, trunks, fanny packs, wallets and denim, this collection already had hefty prices at retail. Imagine what the resale prices look like right now if at retail the standard box logo t-shirt for the collab was 10 times more than the regular one. In Europe the t-shirt retailed at 390 EUR and the trunk at a crazy 50 000 EUR. If you have a faint heart, do not research the resale price lol ! That is why it is very easy to spot fake SUPREME items especially from this collab, the price tag and limited quantities.

Here is a list of all the brands SUPREME has ever collaborated with.

LOGO

Every SUPREME follower and fan knows how important this logo is, its like a staple, a must have before you start collecting any other SUPREME items. The SUPREME logo is popularly referred to as the BOGO (Box + Logo). It actually has a story behind it and how it came about. The funny thing is James Jebbia did not create SUPREME with intentions of turning it into a brand. Here is what he had to say in his Complex magazine interview :

"Supreme wasn’t meant to be a brand. I just was like, “Hey, that’s a cool name for a store.” But it’s become a problem since it’s become a brand because we don’t own the name. It’s a good name, but it’s a difficult one to trademark."

Due to the brand name ambiguous nature they faced difficulty trademarking it. This is evident as they paid USD20 000 to buy out SHORTYPOP, a parody brand featuring photos of a Niketalk member and also named after her. The story on buying out SHORTYPOP is a very interesting one. Chander Easley (the guy who had started the SUPREME parody) had a dad who was an attorney, his dad is the one who also put him in contact with attorneys that specialize in cooperate buy outs and negotiations. These guys convinced SUPREME it would be better to buy out Easley's SHORTYPOP than sue him to stop production. Easley says (in a highsnobiety interview) that he thinks SUPREME was shocked when they were emailed back by an attorney who handles Fortune 500 companies whilst they had initially emailed Easley, a nobody lol. In two weeks the attorney and SUPREME came to agreement which was a financial settlement of USD20 000 and SHORTYPOP was no more.

The font used for the SUPREME Bogo is called Futura Heavy Oblique. The Bogo is based on propaganda art by Barbara Kruger. The font style and color was initially used by the 72 year old conceptual artist for collages of anti-capitalist anti-authoritarian maxims over 20th century black and white advertising pictures, therefore that is where the SUPREME Bogo draws its inspiration from. SUPREME also sued Leah McSweeney for USD10 million for making t-shirts written Supreme B*tch in SUPREME Bogo style. The lawsuit however had the charges dropped and an out of court settlement. During the lawsuit, James Jebbia admitted that the SUPREME bogo was directly inspired by Barbaras work. How ironic considering the logo was not even originally theirs. Here is what Barbra Kruger had to say about this lawsuit, considering she was the inspiration behind the logo causing this legal fight :

After reading this article, I'm sure if you did not know why SUPREME is so glorified and if you wondered why some people quickly call out some SUPREME pieces to be fake, I'm sure you have got the clarity you needed. SUPREME is not the average street-wear brand. If you really want AUTHENTIC SUPREME clothing , think twice before you buy any SUPREME from an Instagram boutique or a " Plug " who apparently has connections. You cannnot just buy SUPREME anywhere.It is BIGGER THAN A BOX LOGO.

Feel free to comment/email if you have more information on SUPREME that I did not mention and you think is relevant to this article. I'm willing to help those who want to purchase AUTHENTIC SUPREME clothing, just hit me up !

NB : IMAGES USED IN THIS ARTICLE DO NOT BELONG TO [ DRIPSET ] Inc. THEY HAVE BEEN SOURCED FROM VARIOUS SOURCES THAT INCLUDE HYPEBEAST, Complex Magazine & Google Images.

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