Supreme Supremacy

Just few days ago, the American brand Supreme found itself winner in a harsh battle against its fakes. The brand, in fact, has been officially registered in Europe after many years of contracting debate.

We may all recognize its distinctive colors, red and white, without thinking twice but the over one-billion brand has been through quite a lot. The trademark key elements are its simplicity, popularity and it edgy vibe; without forgetting the Futura Italic font which is inspirited by artist Barbara Kruger.

Supreme was born during the 90s, in a particular urban atmosphere where other fellow brands like Adidas and Nike were already getting known through hip- hop culture and the production of sweaters, sport suits, jackets and t-shirts. The concept of “streetwear” has been the core and the mean of the trademark; the young 90s generation was immediately attracted by the idea of being able to wear the same outfits of their rappers/sport idols and all without breaking the bank. The beginning of the 90s, specifically April 1994, when the Supreme creator James Jebbia puts on the market a new line inspirited by skaters. Its first shop, also, reflects its content: it was originally set up in Lafayette Street in Soho, NY. A little shop among common sellers: a mechanic, an antique and a fire station. The atmosphere in Soho, on the other hand, is changing: the Keith Haring store nearby is calling for an artistic echo. And this is just the outside.

Once the Supreme shop is settled, the layout is speaking for itself and it seems hard to say if it is an alternative reality or a concrete rendezvous of street culture, sports, arts and design. The second shop will be opened after 10 years in LA. This time the shop proves itself worth the title of “store”:  double the size of the first purchasing point in NY, it shows a real skate rink. And from this point on, several stores have been opened in Brooklyn (NY), Paris, London, Osaka, Tokyo, Fukoka and Nagoya.

Supreme, is considered by some fashion addicted as “the Chanel of streetwear”, some others are just seeing a strong marketing strategy able to transform a casual streetwear in a desirable, fashionable and maybe iconic brand. In the last years Supreme collaborated with several brands, some belonging to luxury goods environment: it is the case of Louis Vuitton, Rimowa, Store Island, The North Face, Playboy, Levi’s and Comme des Garcons (capsule collection in 2012). As for the world of art and design, Supreme has been associated to Christopher Wool, Jeff Koons, Mark Flood, Neil Young, John Baldessari and Nate Lowman. Furthermore, the brand has also had its products photographed by Terry Richardson and among its ambassadors is possible to remember Michael Jordan, Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, Morrisey and Neil Young.

The firm started the registration of the brand “Supreme” as trademark years ago but only in August, the Euipo finalized the last step which recognized the brand Intellectual property rights in Europe. As “state of art” the brand will be protected against any counterfeiting attempt and it will be also prevented from exploitation by the ones who did not apply for the registration. In fact, through the years, Supreme has been subjected to several case of “misunderstanding”.  And highly publicized dispute was against “supreme” by Samsung. In 2018, Samsung announced the imminent collaboration with “Supreme” on Chinese Market. So far so good, until the misunderstanding was that the South-Korean Company was not referring the American Supreme but it was referring to an Italian “supreme” brand from Apulia. Not to mention the conclusion: the collaboration has been suspended permanently.

In conclusion the Supreme happenings, during the 2020 an acquisition took place by the Vf Corporation. It has been announced that the streetwear brand will enter the new corporation galaxy with a modest amount of 2,1 billions dollars.

Happy to know that this 2020 ended up well for this business!

Fanny Trivigno