Founded in 1994, Supreme is a cultural monolith that embodies the very essence of what fashion has come to mean across the globe.
Would you spend two million dollars on a few boxes of T-shirts? Well, you might if you are a streetwear aficionado and the T-shirts were made by NY skate super-brand Supreme.
Trend-focused, grass-roots and above all… hype-led. Growing from modest roots as a small skate shop on Lafayette Street in SoHo, the brand has come to symbolise ‘underground cool’ on a global scale. Twenty-six years, twelve shops and billions in sales later – the brand is not only epochal but also incredibly collectable.
Of course, this is in no small part due to its ‘exclusive drop’ tactics (limited-run, small batch releases of products in-store or online) which have made the brand catnip for streetwear ‘hype-beasts’ who go to extreme lengths to be the first to buy or wear their latest collections, collaborations or virtually anything with the iconic Supreme box logo on it.
There are stories of fans camping outside stores, queuing for hours on end and even paying over fifty times the retail price for branded items. At some point, the brand had to start emptying full-time security guards to stop unruly fans from attacking each other and opportunistic thieves from robbing them (resale values subsequently skyrocketed).
To many, Supreme is the ultimate indicator of cool and other brands have noticed. Louis Vuitton famously collaborated on a hugely popular collection with them, as have a seemingly endless list of others including; Rimowa, Nike, the MoMa, Gucci, The North Face, Public Enemy, BAPE, Popeye, Playboy, Brook’s Brothers, Rolex and even a clay brick company… It seems everyone wants a slice of the Supreme magic.
Evidently, the brand can do no wrong. Even its logo has carved its way into consumer retail history; with the Barbara Kruger-inspired red and white box font growing to be as internationally recognisable as those of much bigger multinational heritage brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola. The first product the brand rolled out was a white T with a red box logo on the front – simple, cool and elegant enough to grab attention from skaters and Vogue editors alike.
Nevertheless, even as the brand gained momentum in NYC and certain circles around the world, few people could have foreseen its global success and eventual collectibility. James Boggart, however, intuited it. An avid skate fan, collector and curator, he took it upon himself to build the most comprehensive collection of Supreme box T’s ever compiled.
Starting with the original white T released in April of 1994, he steadily bought, traded, haggled and scoured the planet to amass every iteration of the shirt Supreme has ever released, including extremely rare items such as the limited-to-30 WTAPS Box Logo T-shirt from 1999 (few have ever even seen it). Boggart claims that even the many billionaire Supreme fans out there could not have accomplished this feat – citing luck, persistence and determination as his North Star to accomplish this incredible archive.
Undoubtedly, the collection is part of something broader, an almost visceral and irrational cultural obsession that the brand inspires. Perhaps it is just the product of how the perfect mix of FOMO, digital bragging rights on Instagram and consumption make a perfect storm… Or perhaps it is just another expression of art in a different medium. Either way – on December 1st you will be able to buy it as Boggart has put it up for auction via Christie’s. It is expected to fetch over $/£ 2 million, so hopefully, you can dig deep into your LV x Supreme branded pockets.