For arguably all of human history, clothes have been an important part of any society. In some places in time, all over the globe, what one would wear would be a symbol of wealth, expressing money through vibrant colors, expensive materials, just about anything you can imagine. At this day and age, however, fashion seems to be the most talked about topic among clothes. In the specific realm of streetwear (and quite frankly any part of fashion), wearing trendy brand names and logos are the thing to wear. One brand in particular went from a small skate brand from New York to one of the most popular and well known names in society; known as Supreme.
Supreme was first created in 1994, by a man named James Jebbia. Jebbia originally worked with Stussy, another popular streetwear brand, as well as other well known companies. Supreme started in a little shop location in downtown New York City, and was mostly worn by a small skate team that simply found interest in the brand. Through the following decade after its initial kickoff, the brand took off, gaining popularity all over New York and eventually spreading worldwide. The company currently has 10 existing stores worldwide; only two in the United States (New York and Los Angeles).
The brand was very strategic in their advertising, while technically not even actually advertising at all. Instead of anything like posters, or any ads in the media, Supreme instead began printing hundreds of stickers and gave them out for free, to anyone. Jebbia encouraged local skaters and Supreme fans to take the stickers and post them all over New York in subways, buildings; anywhere you could possibly put a sticker. Anywhere you went in New York City, it was very likely you would find a red box sticker with the word, “Supreme,” posted within in white writing.
The most iconic thing about Supreme is their logo, known as the box logo. The box logo is an all red rectangular shape; the, “box,” part of the logo. Inside is, “Supreme,” written in white lettering in a standard font. What most people don’t know about the box logo is that it was actually inspired by the famous propaganda art by feminist artist Barbara Kruger. Kruger would use the exact same fonts and colors amongst her artwork.
Original Artwork by Barbara Kruger, photo via Pinterest.
In early 2013, according to Complex News, Supreme filed a lawsuit against Leah McSweeney and her brand Married to the Mob for putting, “Supreme Bitch,” in the same style as the Supreme box logo. In the midst of all this, Complex decided to reach out to Kruger to seek her opinion of the lawsuit, and her thoughts on Supreme’s inspiration coming directly from her work. Her response was minimal but very impactful, despising Supreme entirely for their ideas and making fun of their attempted lawsuit towards McSweeney. Safe to say Kruger doesn’t approve of them.
From a small skate company to a worldwide known and coveted clothing brand, it’s safe to say Supremes seen a lot through their almost 23 years of existence. Little did James Jebbia know he would be creating such a powerful name. Supreme continues to release their new items every Thursday morning at 11 AM, and to little surprise everything’s sold out by 11:05. With no shortage of hype still surrounding the brand entirely, it looks right now like Jebbia will have the fashion world in his hands for a long time coming.