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Supreme History

Supreme is a street brand that attracts people through its collaborative products with many brands.
The brand was established in 1994, and although it has not been around for 30 years, it has now grown into a global brand.
In this article, I will explain the history of Supreme.

James Jebbia established the company in New York in 1994.
The origin of the brand name is that the word “Supreme” came up when he was writing out a potential brand name with his girlfriend who he was dating at the time.

When it was first established, it was a select store that sold skate products.
The store was lined with many skate products, and the only original Supreme items sold were a few T-shirts.

The interior, designed by James, was designed so that skaters could easily enter the store.
Unlike the dark and cluttered skate stores of the time

High ceiling and bright lighting
A large space where you can try out skates
Clean white interior walls.

The store was like a high-end boutique.
After opening, the shop became a hangout for local skaters and gained popularity among the locals.

At the time, skateboarders had a bad impression of people who were out of the norm. At the time, skateboarding was seen as a game for social outlaws.
James wanted to get rid of this image.
The items he designs are simple and stylish. He created a cool, easy-to-understand logo that changed the way people thought about skateboarding.

“He made clothes that were simple and clean, things that people at the time would never have thought of. When I make clothes, I only make clothes that I want to wear,” he said in an interview.

James’s strategy was a great success, and the brand became a huge hit in New York.
But then, an incident happened.

The Calvin Klein Poster Incident
Supreme had been in business for several years and was doing well. At that time, Calvin Klein was the most popular fashion brand in the world.
Calvin Klein put up posters all over the streets of New York as part of its promotion.
The black-and-white, understated yet well-designed posters caught the attention of fashion-conscious New Yorkers.

James wanted to expand Supreme’s name recognition and sell more original items.
So he turned his attention to the posters around the city and put the Supreme logo on a Calvin Klein poster!
And he did it without asking permission.
He did it without asking permission. While Calvin Klein’s poster was in black and white, Supreme’s logo was in white letters on a red background.
The result was that the logo stood out more than the poster.
Naturally, Calvin Klein protested to Supreme. Ironically, the protest led to an explosion of Supreme’s name.

Japanese expansion and collaboration
Four years after opening its first store in New York, Supreme decided to open a new store overseas.
Four years after the opening of the first store in New York, Supreme decided to open a new store overseas, and Japan was the chosen location. Thus, in 1998, the first Japanese store and the second store in the world opened in Daikanyama.
The store was so popular that people lined up at the beginning.
At that time, Japan was in the midst of the “Urahara boom. Street fashion originating from Tokyo spread throughout Japan through word of mouth.
The popularity of the brand grew steadily, and the company later opened six stores in Japan.

In order to expand the business to the rest of the world, it became necessary to increase the number of items.
As well as increasing the number of original items, we started collaborating with other brands and artists.
The first collaborations started with brands associated with Supreme, but recently they have been collaborating with luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton.
Here is a brief history of some of the collaborations.

1996: Vans/Old Skool
This product was created in collaboration with Vans, a famous skate shoe brand.

2002: Nike/Dunk Low Pro S
This is a masterpiece made with elephant skin. It is still highly regarded and popular today.

2010: THE NORTH FACE/Expedition Pullove
This is a collaboration item with North Face, a famous outdoor brand.
It is said that Supreme’s name recognition exploded with this collaboration.

About the logo design
Supreme’s logo design is a white letter Supreme on a red box.
Did you know that there was an original story behind this brand logo?
It is the work of Barbara Kruger, an American female artist.
She created a work called “I shop therefore I am,” which was inspired by philosopher Rene Descartes’ famous quote, “I think therefore I am,” and the Supreme logo was born from this.

In 2010, in an interview held to celebrate the brand’s 15th anniversary, James said
“In an interview held in 2010 to celebrate the brand’s 15th anniversary, James said, “Supreme has consistently maintained a clean image for its clothing and store interiors, including its logo.

Expanding the brand’s recognition in Japan
When the brand first came to Japan, it was treated as an obscure fashion brand.

When it first came to Japan, it was treated as an obscure fashion brand. ・Brand names such as “Supreme,” “Supreme,” “Supreme,” and so on, which I don’t know how to read.
A brand with a logo that was taken from Coca-Cola.
Weak prints that peel off when washed.

Weak prints that peeled off when washed.
After that, One Gram Co., Ltd. became an authorized distributor and started full-scale sales. The first thing Wangram did after becoming an authorized distributor was to conduct branding and PR activities.

First, we tried to increase our name recognition by having the designers of the Urahara street brands that were popular at the time wear our products. Then, we expanded the number of stores handling our products to 28.

At that time, when the Internet was not as developed as it is today, the main source of information was street fashion magazines for men. The use of Yosuke Kubozuka, who had graced the covers of several magazines, as a model ignited the popularity of the brand. In this way, Supreme expanded its name recognition in Japan.

Supreme was first established as a select store selling skate products.
The brand was founded in 1994, less than 30 years after its inception.
The brand’s simple but easy-to-understand logo, attractive items, and collaborations with other brands have been highly evaluated, and it has now become an influential brand worldwide.
In 2017, it collaborated with Louis Vuitton, solidifying the brand’s position.
We can’t wait to see what other brands they will collaborate with in the future.

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