Supreme is an iconic New York City shop and brand that has built a cult-like following in different areas around the world.
In 1994, Supreme was founded in Manhattan by James Jebbia.
As it grew through the years, it became the epicenter of NYC’s skate culture.
When the brand began manufacturing original clothing, they developed a following of dedicated consumers…
Many of them would not mind standing in a waiting line for over 24 hours to get the latest product!
Their limited supply releases have resulted in an underground Reselling market where people can sell items for prices much higher than paid in stores.
The brand has a significant history and there are plenty of interesting facts about Supreme that many people have no clue about.
So, with no further ado, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Supreme:
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Supreme
1. It Costs Only About $12,000 To Open The First Supreme
In 1994, James Jebbia opens his first Supreme store on Lafayette Street in Soho, Downtown, Manhattan.
Mostly they were reselling Stüssy and some other streetwear/skatewear brands.
The shop cost him about $12,000 to open and its rent was $2,000 a month.
He left it open so people could hang and skate in there… The store became the spot for skaters from all over NYC to meet up and hang out.
It was more of a social hub than a store. It became an icon of New York Street culture and skateboarding.
2. The Supreme Logo Was The Subject Of A 2013 Lawsuit
Supreme got lots more lawsuits and seasoned assists, including the NCAA and the NHL.
You guys already know this, but the Supreme logo is a red box logo with Supreme written in it in Futura Bold Italic.
James Jebbia has admitted that the Supreme classic box logo was inspired by Barbara Kruger’s pop art ‘I Shop Therefore I Am’, which is making fun of our consumer culture.
Well, it’s pretty ironic when you see what Supreme has become!
This is a quote from Barbara Kruger about Supreme ripping off her box logo.
She said — “What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers. I make my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I’m waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement!”
She later did a big collaboration with Volcom using Red Box logos to poke and see if Supreme would sue her.
3. Calvin Klein And Louis Vuitton Launched Lawsuits Against Supreme
In 1994, Supreme had no money for ads, so they went around NYC tagging everything with Supreme stickers.
They started tagging Calvin Klein ads all over the city that had Kate Moss all over them.
What Calvin Klein did is they launched a lawsuit against Supreme but what’s funny is later on they worked together with Kate Moss on the real Supreme collab which made it kind of crazy.
In the year 2000, Supreme launched a collection ripping off the Louis Vuitton monogram logos.
This led to a lawsuit from Louis Vuitton.
They also ripped off Gucci, but Gucci didn’t launch any lawsuits.
But again, later in their career in 2017, Supreme does a Louis Vuitton official collab… And there were tons of rumors that Louis Vuitton was going to buy Supreme.
The collaboration launched at pop-up shops all around the world and featured the most expensive items Supreme has ever made, including the Louis Supreme bag.
4. Supreme Has Done A Ton Of Collaborations
The first collaboration ever was with Vans, and they made Old Skool in 1996.
The first Nike collaboration was in 2002… Released the iconic Jordan Elephant Nikes.
The Supreme Nike collaboration has been very famous over the years. Even having NYPD shut down some releases because of the rioting on the line-ups.
Such as the 2014 Foamposites. These shoes were based on the Versace print.
Other collaborations comprise Nike Riots, Nike SB, Supreme Louis Vuitton collaboration for their Malle Case that cost $177,000.
They also had a skateboard monogram that cost $101,000 and all their bags are over $10,000.
They had a Supreme and Playboy collection, Supreme and Yankees collection, Supreme and Nike Star Dunks, Red Blazers, North Face, Swarovski, with their favorite Spalding Gonz basketball, the Sopranos, Thrasher, White Castle, and the Fender Guitar.
They collabed with Budweiser, with the New York Post, the Louisville Slugger, Antihero, Campbell’s Soup, and Oakley.
They’ve done collaborations with Everlast, they made Pinball Machines, Thermoses, Buck Knives, Dice, the Metro Card, etc.
5. They Have Never Been A Supply-And-Demand Business
Supreme doesn’t follow the traditional supply-and-demand business model… They never have and they probably never will!
James Jebbia has said that if he thinks he can sell 600 of something, he’ll make 400 of them.
The cult following of the brand allows them to limit production and remain incredibly successful.
6. The Word ‘Supreme’ Is Hard To Trademark
In 2019, there was a ton of fake Supreme.
The company name is difficult to trademark, so there have been a lot of ripoffs targeting the brand.
Supreme recently lost lawsuits to Supreme Italia, who is opening fake Supreme stores all over Italy and Spain.
They also just opened this massive fake Supreme store in Shanghai with another one opening soon in Beijing.
They’re planning to open over 70 new fake Supreme stores around the world.
Some people are saying Barbara Kruger must be laughing now or Supreme got Supreme!
This company owns the right to the name Supreme NYC in China.
The first person to collaboration gets the license so fake Supreme owns the rights for all of China.
7. Three Supreme Skate Decks Sold At Auction For More Than $16,000
Supreme has worked with several artists over the years to create original skate decks that are always in high demand.
In 2006, Supreme worked with artist Jeff Koons who developed a trio of Monkey Train skate decks.
A set of these decks were auctioned off at the legendary Christie’s auction house in 2013.
The auction house undervalued the skateboards, estimating they would only bring in from $3,000 to $5,000, but the actual selling price was $16,250.
8. A Supreme-Branded Metro Card Was Released In New York City
If you live in New York City, chances are a Metro Card is a common item you always have with you if you use the New York subways.
But these cards became a hot commodity when the New York City Metro Transit Authority teamed up with Supreme in 2017 to offer Supreme-branded Metro Cards.
The cards have this Supreme logo on the front and come with two fares pre-loaded.
They are only available at selected stations, but it was not announced where they would be.
There was a frenzy at several stations as people tried desperately to get their hands on one of these cards…
The cards sell for $550 but a number of cards have shown up on eBay and other e-commerce sites priced between $50 to $1000.
9. The Supreme Brick Sold Out Within Minutes
It doesn’t seem to matter what Supreme drops. It sells out within minutes!
One perfect example of this is the Supreme brick that was released in September 2016.
The product was a red brick with the Supreme box logo etched onto it and it sold out within minutes online and in stores.
The red clay brick came from a box wrapped in bubble wrap and they were sold for $30 but were listed for resale on sites such as eBay for up to $1000.
10. Police Had To Cancel A Product Drop After A Riot Almost Broke Out
In April 2014, the New York branch of Supreme scheduled a product drop of the Supreme Nike Air Foamposite 1.
The store was set to open at 11:00 AM on a Thursday, but over 1,000 people were lined up at the Soho store the night before.
This caused a problem when portions of the crowd tried to rush the store and were met with members of the NYC Police Department.
The police had set up barricades, but when at first one and then many people tried to rush the store, that eventually turned into mass chaos.
The drop was then canceled. The shoes were $250 each and were expected to resell for $1000.
11. The Founder Of The Store Was Never A Skateboarder
The founder of the store admits he was never a skateboarder himself, but he always admired the graphics of skateboards and he liked the rebellious spirit!
He noticed there were many people who work for him at the Stüssy store that loved skating, but there were no skateboard shops around…
He thought there would be a good market, so he opened the store.
When he noticed a lack of quality clothing items available for young adult skaters, he started developing the store’s clothing line, which quickly gained a cult-like following.
12. There Are More Supreme Stores In Tokyo Than In The Entire U.S
There are only two Supreme stores in the U.S, in New York City and Los Angeles.
This is partially by design because part of the Supreme sales concept is limited access.
However, the people of Japan have three times as many Supreme stores to shop in.
There are three located in Tokyo alone and three others in different Japanese cities…
There is also a store in Paris and one in London.
13. The Brand’s Name Comes From John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’
The name for the store came from a song by legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.
James Jebbia was inspired to name his brand after Coltrane’s song ‘A Love Supreme’
14. James Jebbia Says He Doesn’t Like The Underground Reselling Market
One example of a resale is a Box Logo Crew Neck Sweater.
That’s sold in the store for $138 and then sold for nearly $800 on eBay.
The founder James Jebbia is not a big fan of this secondary market, saying that Supreme tried to best make clothes that are affordable for young people!
This might seem a little questionable since they offer limited products by design.
But Jebbia says, “I don’t like people getting jacked for a t-shirt. I much prefer if someone buys something from us that they plan on wearing and not selling!”
15. Supreme Got Bought Out In October 2017
There’s a group called The Carlyle Group that purchased half of the Supreme store for $500 million, valuing the brand as a $1 billion skateboard shop.
Even though it only has 11 locations.
The Carlyle Group was ranked the number one largest private equity fund in the world.
Beats By Dre, Montclair, Vogue, Dunkin Donuts, and Dr. Pepper… These are all things they own.
Supreme has actually come under a lot of scrutinies for this buyout.
With the Carlyle Group, it was described in Esquire Magazine as one of the shadiest of players in the private equity firm game.
Here’s a thing with the future of Supreme being invested in by the Carlyle Group — Supremes actually gonna have to grow a ton more in the future because investors want a return.
We’re guessing this means a ton of new locations coming soon.
What do you guys think? Where do you think the next locations are going to be?
Will Supreme be able to stay on top of it with this massive growth with stores and being having products readily available?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Thanks for reading!