(Photo: Highsnobiety / Pavel Kaczorowski)

The skateboard brand turned top fashion brand

One of the Cinderella stories of fashion is the streetwear brand, Supreme. This streetwear brand turned into a luxury athletic brand and became known for its collaboration collections with other luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

Supreme has the brand power to increase the price and influence of products that don the iconic red and white “Supreme” logo. The outerwear company, North Face, did a collaboration with Supreme featuring a jacket for $1,000 compared to a similar style only costing $300 simply because it features the Supreme logo.

Supreme has cracked the code of making their collection items exclusive through strategically limiting releases and partnering with popular artists over the past 20 years. What started as a small skateboarding brand is now a $1 billion streetwear company in New York.

Supreme has grown a huge following with most of its customers wanting to get their hands on more Supreme, creating its own subculture since founding in 1994. The creator of Supreme, Jame Jebbia, started the company as a skateboarding store in SoHo during the beginning of the New York skate scene.

Supreme became popular for their simple, yet iconic red box logo with a white, italic font that was similar to the work of conceptual artist Barbara Kruger. Supreme’s brand is known for the appropriation of images and is one of the keys to its popularity.

Supreme uses other brands’ imagery and logos to elevate their own in association because better-known brands offer familiarity giving people a sense of connection. This makes their collections releases high in demand with most customers having to pre-register to buy newly released products.

Once customers register, Supreme sends the customer a text to notify them that they’ve been selected to shop a designated store 24 hours in-advance including the designated time. Supreme also has rules including one-limit-per-style so if you want the same shirt in three colors, you’ll have to have two other people to get them for you.

If you see a line outside a Supreme store, a majority of people are standing in line for other people with the purpose of people being able to get more items. Supreme makes this possible by only selling their styles in their stores with only 11 brick-and-mortar locations worldwide and their online store.

Supreme became popular in the early 2000s thanks to what is referred to as the “Kanye effect.” In 2006, Supreme released the collaboration with Nike, Supreme Blazer SB, with a pair of shoes retailing for $150 and raised the resale price up to $400. Kanye was pictured wearing the shoes in 2007 and after photos released the resale price nearly doubled up to $800.

This means that most of the people buying from Supreme are buying their collection to re-sell making Supreme a truly unique brand. Supreme isn’t looking at changing any of their limited-release release model any time soon but is its key to success.