Interview translated from the original Italian version.

 

Following the constant attention and the persistent coverage by nss magazine of the events and the various repercussions, both legal and social, which saw as protagonist of the brand known as "Supreme Italy", and defined for a period "Supreme Barletta", we were contacted by the Press Office following IBF (ed. International Brand Firm), a British company that owns the "Supreme Italia" brand, eager to comment directly on what are, to tell them, several dark points about the brand and its situation current.

Notwithstanding that the editorial team of nss recognizes as true and only Supreme exclusively the one born in New York in 1994 and founded by James Jebbia, nss has accepted the request carried out by the Press Office of the IBF group, showing professionally ready to listen to what that the group behind "Supreme Italia" had to say - maintaining the position of the editorial office in favor of Supreme New York.

What follows is the complete interview to the IBF Commercial Director, on what is the position of the same on the recent events that have involved it.

 

# 1 Supreme New York is a well-known brand and thanks to its marketing strategies and the choice of limited distribution channels, even a relatively niche brand, with a narrow and well-defined target - at least until a few years ago. Did you already know the brand and its strategies?

Frankly not because the "Supreme" brand of the American Chapter 4 Corp. did not have any notoriety in Italy until a few years ago, and indeed it was almost unknown to the overwhelming majority of consumers. It certainly could not be said "known" in September / November 2015, ie during the period when IBF launched the production of its first "Supreme" collection in Italy, submitting a regular application for the registration of its sign at the competent Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM).
Moreover, "Supreme New York" products are in fact untraceable on the Italian market since the American "Chapter 4" does not distribute its products through any shop, retailer or physical distributor in Italy.

How much do you think you "copied" Supreme New York to make your "brand"?

Nothing.
Our collections offer garments suitable for the needs of our market also in terms of weights, sizes, style and offer, such as the line of outerwear in neoprene, garments in silk and cashmere blend up to the knitwear line.
Our materials are different from those proposed by the American company.
Behind the "Supreme" Italia brand there is the know-how of people who have been researching for years and dealing with clothing and accessories for casual wear and leisure.

 

#2 By eliminating this elitism and the narrow sales channels that characterize Supreme New York, the ethos of the original brand has been distorted, but perhaps space has been created for new and not always ethically correct developments.
Did you perceive this exclusivity as an untapped opportunity on the Italian market?

We believe that it is not ethical to sell a sweatshirt or a tshirt to hundreds of euros, even more we would not allow this to happen through reselling.
What you call "elitism" is the clearest proof of the total disregard of American Chapter 4 for the Italian market and beyond, markets in which "Supreme New York" products have never been present.
Indeed, on closer inspection, precisely the "commercial policy" of "absence" of products implemented by Chapter 4 has fueled or even fostered a reselling activity devoid of any "ethical", decidedly irregular, and perhaps even illicit, placed in to be influencers and youtuber, which directly affects consumers and to alter the rules of trade and correct information, often influenced by subjects that are anything but disinterested, including some bloggers that we have also legally warned.
These subjects, who on one hand make videos about what they say is true or false, sometimes have personal resale channels, fiscally irregular, and act by creating "competitions" without any authorization to sell pieces.
It would be nice to understand why on the web, in a few seconds, the availability of items ends and they always find themselves in the hands of the same few lucky users of online sales.
The American company Wealthsimple Financial Inc, which offers online investment management services, has even promoted the reselling activity with a billboard exposed just outside the New York store of Supreme, which therefore seems to consent to this "system".

Do you believe that the Supreme New York exclusivity policy has somehow authorized you to work on Supreme Italy?

What has authorized us is the market.
We are carrying out a completely different project from Supreme New York, within the reach of all those who wish to purchase the products.

 

#3 Supreme Italia can be said to have made the term "legit fake" in the public domain. What is your opinion on "legit fake"?

It is a term with an ambiguous and contradictory meaning that does not belong to us, in our opinion coined by those who have every interest in denigrating our brand, obviously because they are not disinterested.
Ours is a company incorporated under English law without a registered office in Barletta.

Do you think it is wrongly attributed to Supreme Italia?

Surely.
Supreme Italia does not sell "fakes" but original products marked by its own trademark duly registered at the Ministry's Trademarks and Patents office.
It does not seem possible to compare two entrepreneurial realities that have no concrete and effective commonality of market and clientele since the Chapter 4 products do not exist in Italy.
What would then be fake? and which ones are legal? And above all: can anyone be forbidden to work in a market where they are not present? The market is free.

 

#4 In terms of protection of trademarks and signs, the Italian system has proved to be full of legislative vacuum that has allowed the registration of the Supreme brand in our country, making it legal "lawful" Supreme Italia. At the same time, however, your products are perceived by some as "counterfeit" under an "ethical" / "creative" point of view and subject to Parasite Competition against Supreme New York.
What is the border between legality and illegality in this matter for you?

IBF has regularly registered its "Supreme" brands in 54 countries.
The business and commercial activity of IBF has been corrected, and therefore legal, in all the countries on which we have moved.
Today IBF is persecuted by those who claim free field In Italy and an exclusive "planetary" on a term in reality quite common, descriptive, laudatory, used by thousands of companies, for which until 2012 had not obtained registration as a trademark even in the United States for lack of distinctiveness.
To give you a datum: in the 25 categories currently in the world there are 511 marks (TMview data), excluding the east, which contain the term "supreme". If we were to extend this research to other categories we would reach over a thousand brands.
It must also be said that many trademark and patent offices (eg Germany) have refused the registration of the "Supreme" sign due to an original lack of distinctive character, prohibiting, in essence, the monopolization of a term deemed to be free use.
Moreover, even in the United States, or in the same territory in which Chapter4 operates, there are those like Powell Peralta (a leading company in the world of skaters certainly known to nss readers) since 1990, and therefore well before Supreme New York, he has made and continues to freely use the Supreme naming, proposing it again in his most recent collections.

When you started Supreme Italia, did not you consider the possibility of a non-legitimacy of the brand and its products?

We could not imagine such development and the media interest aroused by our brand years ago.
The activities of protecting the brand have been made in the light of the day and it is a species that only since June 2017 the Americans are trying to register the brand in Europe, an activity we have obviously opposed due to our registration in Spain.

 

#5 Supreme Italia is strongly commented and the subject of constant discussion on various Italian forums and not related to the streetwear world. Thanks to the world of mouth generated in these groups, more and more users have finally become aware of the distance between Supreme Italia and Supreme New York.
Do you consider this phenomenon as a loss of potential customers?

We believe that our customer target is very large.
Ours is a great product at a fair price and people know perfectly what they buy and what they want.
The choice always remains in the hands of those who spend.
The market is not just that of bloggers, forums.
Not just the "lions" of the keyboard enter the stores, but also simple consumers who appreciate our product.

Can the sales results obtained above all in the first period be attributed to this lack of information and culture of the brand?

We can not know it.
Those who bought our products continue to do so with satisfaction. This is the best answer. And today we do not have stores that send us unsold goods.
What should we think? The lack of information cannot be less important for the presence of often induced and non-disinterested disinformation.


Some fanatics are not the market.

 

#6 Much has been written and said about Supreme Italia and the "phenomenon of legit fake".
What, however, according to you has not been said about it and what would you like to be now universally known?

Nothing has yet been said about us, indeed!

You are practically the first to deepen.
There has never been a real visibility before the one recently reached on the web thanks to the photographs posted by some known influencers portrayed while wearing their Supreme New York garments purchased in the United States.
At least so it seems even if it is images related to the capsules Louis Vuitton.
All this from 2017 while we are present from 2015.
Until a few months ago, most of the public did not even know of the existence of "Supreme New York", and if our brand is well recognizable today, this has depended on the huge investments made, the care and quality of the product and the organization of a primary and widespread distribution network.
The "Supreme" IBF products have always been sold in the best Italian stores with a label identifying the origin and origin of the product, at reasonable prices and in line with the local market. Only afterward have the judicial actions initiated by Chapter 4 begun.
Nothing has yet been decided, as only precautionary and non-definitive measures have been issued.
We trust in justice and therefore we believe that, on the merits, our reasons will be recognized and accepted the counterclaims made against Chapter 4.
Some favorable provision has already arrived, for example, the quorum ordered by some Italian prosecutors and courts.
Journalists should begin to give voice to both parties, without evaluating only the advertising investments of those who directly or indirectly support one or the other project.

 

 

Editorial Note
What you've read is the complete interview as reported. What has been released by the interviewee, does not reflect absolutely what is the position of nss regardinf the issues addressed.