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A Supreme Anthology: the era of change

As recent events have transformed the brand into the collective imagination

A Supreme Anthology: the era of change As recent events have transformed the brand into the collective imagination

When James Jebbia founded Supreme in that fateful April 1994, he could never imagine what would happen next.
His entrepreneurial genius, coupled with the ability to create a circle not only of pro-skaters but of artists and creators of all sorts, has led the brand to evolve, becoming a cultural phenomenon and world-class lifestyle. Supreme's strength was to never stop the doors and never to lie within the limits of the mere skate-brand.

Over the years there have been many times when the brand has been able to squeeze the eye on fashion and pop culture: from Terry Richardson to Kermit the Frog, from Mike Tyson to Lady Gaga, Supreme has been able to play its cards, becoming a "pop" symbol in many respects, but still able to retain that discretion and that mystery curtain, which for decades has preserved the status of cult brand.


Could this balance come to the point of being irretrievably compromised?


In recent years, the face of streetwear has changed and this change has upset realities that seemed imperturbable. Supreme is certainly one of the most affected.
The Web 2.0 and the explosion of streetwear portals and sneaker news, which broke the bank of what until then was a closed basin. The affluence of a sea of young people ready to flood the social media of sneaker and streetwear was an obvious consequence of the ease with which today is access to anything. In this supreme Marxist, who navigated wisely on the course of ambiguity between "cult" and "pop" in a subtle balance between omnipresence and absence, it was suddenly the subject of collective desire.

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Un post condiviso da Supreme (@supremenewyork) in data:


The trigger for this mechanism is probably due to the popularity that has led Hip-Hop and Trap to take control of the mainstream, stealing the scepter to a pop that is now decimated and devoid of inventiveness. The obsession for Supreme nurtured by almost all of the featured rappers of the current Rap / Trap scene has done the rest. From A$AP Rocky to Gucci Mane, from Travi$ Scott to Lil Yatchy, just a click on Google to get an idea and this, coupled with the presence of a fast internet connection in all the homes and on all the Millenials smartphones, has produced a massive hysteria that we still live and with which the brand itself (perhaps) begins to count. Armed of cash, PayPal or credit cards have invaded the online stores, forums, and online marketplaces dedicated to reselling. 

But what struck the fatal blow to the image of the brand was the image culture, dominating the Millennials. Many of them have become real social phenomena, the banner of a new generation of hype beasts and their influence on the masses of young people is such that they have transformed them into viral phenomena worldwide. Supreme, of course, is at the center of their success, as the latter is mainly due to the opportunity to showcase the rarest and sought after brands on a weekly basis.

This phenomenon had sparked some perplexity in collectors and old-name fans of the brand since the dawn, which, beginning to sneer in the air of change, already anticipated the worst on the top forums and pages devoted to Supreme. When then the most authoritative headlines in streetwear, began to exploit the popularity of young streetwear-stars - having properly subdued the potentialities of these characters to generate viral content - editorial and interviews have raised these personalities to the status of real street style icons, increasing the gap between Supreme and its old public.

Un post condiviso da Cruz Beckham (@cruzbeckham) in data:

The brand is beginning to be perceived more and as like a reality that is part of a trend - something that has been able to escape for twenty years - and inextricably linked to the image of the "streetwear kid". The original Supreme universe belongs to the eyes of veterans, increasingly distant.  

Another blow to the heart, coming from "official" sources this time, was the seeding of the Supreme x LV collaboration, a controversial topic for the community, which saw Cruz Beckham among the characters; The blond lump that embraces his dog with an immaculate pedigree, in what he looks like a typical portrait commissioned by a well-known family of painters, has been able to close a chapter of Supreme story forever. Today Millennials reign and drops are forgotten after a week and some viral photos on Instagram. Supreme is fashion and everyone, but just everyone wants to ride the trend.
This makes it difficult, indeed hard, for the old enthusiasts, those who have been raised by skate culture, streetwear nerd and collectables to look at the brand with the same eyes and try Supreme to see that love and respect before they were The basis of the relationship between James Jebbia's creature and his fandom.

In Italy, this change has a name: Federico Leonardo Lucia, in art: Fedez.

The rapper is the tattooed version of a Boy Scout, far away from the imaginative light and the values that made the Supreme Supreme. His relationship with the brand began with the display of numerous false box made in Barletta and, after becoming the joke of Supreme's Italian community of Supreme, with whom he has repeatedly baffled even recently, began to buy compulsively and indiscriminately original pieces.

Un post condiviso da Fedez (@fedez) in data:

This branded mania, dictated by the spirit revanchism and the impatient need for restyling, finds continuous vent in its Instagram feed and in his Insta-stories and his girlfriend Chiara Ferragni.
Fedez has recently been legitimized by Hypebeast, being featured among the VIPs who rocked their Supreme x Louis Vuitton Capsule purchases.

Of course, after the latest events, the brand is no longer perceived in the same way. Especially from those who have always loved it. This trendy aura and the massive presence of personality that today somehow represent the brand - but that has nothing to do with the philosophy and values that James Jebbia has wanted to impress from Supreme's first day of life - has changed Radically the role of the brand in the collective imagination. 

All we can do is trust us with Jebbia, his insights have a great Supreme and will surely know how to make the most of this situation, giving rise to unprecedented and perhaps unexpected developments.