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The Story of Skateboarding and Hype: Supreme in the World

Updated on March 22, 2018
Ian Barron profile image

Avid sneakerhead and streetwear enthusiast, Ian has been experimenting with style so you don't have to.

This logo has become legendary among seasoned and newcoming streetwear enthusiasts alike.
This logo has become legendary among seasoned and newcoming streetwear enthusiasts alike.

Humble Beginnings

Supreme is the product of former Stussy employee and founder James Jebbia. Jebbia was born in the US and lived in the UK until 19, where he moved back to Manhattan and began working for a store known as Parachute. He made a decent living selling streetwear, even being able to sell Stussy pieces to a more mainstream audience. After selling Stussy so well, he helped run a store with Mr. Stussy himself. When he retired, Jebbia contemplated what he was to do next. This is where he got his idea for a skate shop. No planning, no advisers, and nothing but some money and a dream. The first Supreme store was opened on Lafayette Street in Manhattan, New York. Jebbia opened the first Supreme store in 1994 with only $12,000. He hired skaters to run his store, and the store itself mimicked a skate park. Obviously, it attracted a major part of the New York skater scene. It also happened to attract big art names such as Christopher Wool, Nate Lowman, and Andres Serrano. From there, the SoHo based company would only go up, with collabs with brands such as The North Face, Vans, and Nike. This, as well as rappers such as Juicy J and members of the Wu Tang clan wearing various Supreme pieces both on stage and during photo shoots.

Jebbia's First Years

Starting off Supreme was not nearly as exclusive and hyped as it is now. Kids would buy cheaper hoodies, tees, and caps from the store and hang out in and around the store to skate and catch up with one another. This is where the legendary Box Logo tee came into fruition, for $18 a shirt. The Box Logo was originally very accessible simply because Jebbia did not forsee the hype that would not come from the brand in the coming years. Originally, the logo didn't even have any rights reserved. Jebbia had succeeded in making the first independent skate store, and it was almost instantly a hit among downtown New York's skate scene. Several teens would happily gather there for whatever reason simply because it was the place to be, and soon almost all New York skaters had some sort of Supreme piece. Supreme, with its traction gaining quickly worldwide, took advantage of their newfound power and influence and began to make their clothing more limited and spike up demand. The box logo became much more limited, collabs were the most coveted pieces in any drop, and people were clamoring for their chance to get their hands on any Supreme piece they could afford.

Sarcastic is one of the first collabs Supreme had done. Though simplistic, it helped set Supreme as a worldwide phenomena. It came in 1998, showing Supreme had promise as a brand.
Sarcastic is one of the first collabs Supreme had done. Though simplistic, it helped set Supreme as a worldwide phenomena. It came in 1998, showing Supreme had promise as a brand. | Source

The Story From There

Part of the allure of Supreme is how secretive and underground it seems to be. They never really advertise, they rarely use social media outside of showing off pieces for their weekly drops, and they rarely speak about their history and story. Even the general public is a bit stumped about the exact history of the brand itself. Supreme enjoys both social and advertising minimalism, and it shows in marketing and history. This, ironically, makes them so much more hyped due to the air of exclusivity it still exudes. Through the years, Supreme had finally reserved the rights for their legendary logo (which was heavily inspired by Barbra Kruger), opened several shops in France, Japan, and England (as well as one more in California), and began several notable collaborations with big brands such as Vans, Louis Vuitton, Bape, NEIGHBORHOOD, and so many more brands people notice today. Supreme has gained a cult status, and is rumored to be worth approximately $1 billion based off of a recent purchase from the Carlyle Group. Supreme does not look like it will be slowing down, with the SS18 season looking more promising than ever. And with close ties to brands such as The North Face, Vans, and even Nike itself, Supreme still has a lot of life left in it.

Honestly this Bape collab looks awesome. It's sad you can't really find these pieces anymore.
Honestly this Bape collab looks awesome. It's sad you can't really find these pieces anymore. | Source

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