Supreme has come a long way from it’s humble roots as a skate store. It is now more than just a brand but a movement. Having collaborated with some of the top brands like Louis Vuitton, Comme Des Garcons and The North Face it is no surprise Supreme has risen to the top.
But it didn’t always have this much fame.
Nothing about Supreme was planned. When Jebbia was nineteen he had left England and was jumping from job to job until he founded a store called Union, which sold British goods and streetwear. Union was doing pretty good until he began selling threads designed by Shawn Stüssy, from then on it did great. Jebbia jumped on board to run a store with Stüssy until Shawn Stüssy decided to retire.
“Now what the hell am I going to do?”
“I always really liked what was coming out of the skate world, it was less commercial—it had more edge and more fuck-you type stuff.”
From there he made a decision to open his own skate shop on a quiet street next to antique stores and Keith Haring shop, which was key. He created a vibe of good music and playing videos like Muhammad Ali fights and movies like Taxi Driver.
“My thing has always been that the clothing we make is kind of like music”
“There are always critics that don’t understand that young people can be into Bob Dylan but also into the Wu-Tang Clan and Coltrane and Social Distortion. Young people—and skaters—are very, very open-minded . . . to music, to art, to many things, and that allowed us to make things with an open mind.”
Supreme seems to create such hype by ‘playing hard to get’ and it paid off. Nothing is like a release of a new Supreme line. If you have ever been it is more of an event than just your average release. Over the years they kept to limited runs while collaborating with big artists like; Christopher Wool, Jeff Koons, Mark Flood, Nate Lowman, John Baldessari, Damien Hirst—even Neil Young.
Even though Supreme has risen to the top, Jebbia still stays humble.
“My wife keeps saying I should just call myself founder, but I don’t know,” he says. “ ‘Just tell em I run a skate shop’ is how I usually put it.”