Wow, take a trip in the way back machine to when the old New York was the only New York, the subway looked like a rolling art gallery, and FUTURA (then known as FUTURA 2000) and MADONNA were coupled up big time…
Supertouch homies PHARRELL and RICARDO CAMPA teamed up to blow kid’s minds in Mexico City last weekend when Skateboard P made a lengthy meet-and-greet appearance at Campa’s legendary streetwear hotspot HEADQUARTERS. At a time when most American stars won’t even set foot on the streets of D.F. for fear of being kidnapped, hats off to the hitmaking art collector for bucking the trend and going big. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Love it or hate it the iconic (and iconoclastic) streetwear brand SUPREME is consistently one of the most innovative and on-point brands on the planet. Its reclusive founder, Supertouch buddy JAMES JEBBIA is the driving force behind this underground powerhouse and an extended interview with the NYC resident in this month’s issue of newly-relaunched (and much improved) INTERVIEW MAGAZINE provides the most revealing look to date at the man behind the machine:
JAMES JEBBIA IS SUPREME
By Glenn O’Brien, Interview Magazine
Supreme is a different sort of fashion company. Some people would call Supreme street fashion, some would call it skater fashion, but really it’s beyond classification. They make clothes and accessories, but they also make skateboards, and the skateboards are collected like art. In fact, they’ve put out skateboard decks by artists such as Larry Clark, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Christopher Wool, Nate Lowman, and most recently, Damien Hirst. Their shoes and other products are collected as fanatically as art. Sometimes when a new item comes in, customers line up on the sidewalk for 24 hours, sleeping on the street to be among the lucky few who are able to buy it—there’s a big secondary market for Supreme stuff, in part because it is produced in only very small quantities, but also because Supreme has just two shops in the U.S. (one in New York and one in L.A.), five in Japan, and they sell to a very limited number of other stores, like Hide Out in London and Colette in Paris.
Supreme’s founder James Jebbia was in on the first wave of skater fashion, partnering with Sean Stüssy. When Stüssy left the business, Jebbia opened up Supreme in 1994 in a small storefront on Lafayette Street in downtown New York. Fifteen years later, Supreme is at the pinnacle of populist youth fashion. It’s as big as it wants to be in New York and L.A. and huge in Japan. It’s got a renegade eye, outlaw good taste, and a sort of cult following that lives on the razor’s edge of fashion, art, and sport.
GLENN O’BRIEN: So how is the recession treating you?
JAMES JEBBIA: Our business is really good. We didn’t plan for a financial crisis, but we were
already working hard, trying to make really good product, and we’ve always tried to keep our prices as reasonable as we can.
GO: We’re seeing an interesting moment in the marketplace. I think it’s a time for new values. I think some of these empty luxury brands are going to disappear.
JJ: I agree. I don’t wish for anybody to go out of business, but I think there are far too many things in New York that really shouldn’t be here. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for more than 20 years, so three or four times I’ve been through things where it’s like, “Wow, it’s a tough time.” Ever since September 11, I’ve been quite conservative in what we’ve ordered. We’ve never really been supply-demand anyway. It’s not like when we’re making something, we make only six of them. But if we can sell 600, I make 400. We’ve always been like that—at least for the past seven or eight years. For every season, we put in a lot of work to try to create exciting stuff. So it’s not like in these difficult times we’re going to suddenly pull up our socks—we’ve always been busting our asses every single day to try to get it right.
GO: Was it like that in the beginning?
JJ: Not really. We opened in 1994—
GO: That was during an economic downturn, right?
JJ: Yeah, but we did good in that environment . . . It was really a different time. I had the Stüssy store right here on Prince Street, but Sean Stüssy, the designer, didn’t know whether he was going to do it for that long. He’d made a ton of money, and then I think he decided to retire. So I thought, Shit, I’d better be doing something else, too, because I don’t want to count on this. I’d always loved what went on in skateboarding. I’d never skated myself, but I loved the graphics—I really liked the rebelliousness of it. And a lot of kids who worked for me skated, but it seemed to me that there were no skate shops around. So I was like, “Okay, cool, maybe I’ll do a skate shop.” It cost me, like, $12,000 to open the store. Rent was two grand. It was like, “Hey, if we do five grand a week, then great!” We didn’t really do any business at first, but we did okay. I really liked all of the hard goods—the decks, the wheels, the trucks. But all of the clothing that the skate companies put out was crap. These companies had to sell to a wide range of people, and a lot of them were very young. When people think of skaters, they think of, like, the 12- or 13- or 14-year-old kid. But in New York, it was the 18-to-24-year-old hardcore kid who wasn’t wearing any skate stuff. They’d wear a hat or whatever, but they wouldn’t wear the clothing,because it would fit badly and was bad quality, and skaters want to look good and pick up girls. So we slowly started making our own stuff. It was a time when it was a lot easier to do that kind of thing. It was easier to make a sweatshirt in Brooklyn, or do these hats locally, because you could get nice things made fairly easily. And because we didn’t have to worry about appeasing a 14-year-old kid in a mall, we spent a lot of time trying to make the right stuff. We didn’t dumb it down—we only made things that we really liked. I feel like kids in New York appreciated that, and after a while we got a bit of a following in Japan and in Europe, and we’ve just kind of done it the same ever since. We’ve kept on that same mission of just being a small company, but really trying to make our product as good as anybody else’s and concentrating on what we can do well. That’s why I’ve appreciated you as a customer. A lot of people dismiss what we do. They think, Well, it’s skate, so it’s got to be, like, big baggy pants, cap backwards, big chain . . . They don’t understand that just because skating is the culture we’re working in, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make good things. Click HERE to continue reading…
We’ve said it many times before on ST: We don’t do streetwear collabs here, but this one’s bulletproof (and guaranteed to leave a nation of young sneakerhead zombies scratching their heads wondering who LOU REED is). Too bad the old man’s not still in his “Transformer” period…
…and it hits stands Monday, March 2nd. Don’t sleep.
As if SHEPARD FAIREY‘s inclusive “Manifest Hope DC” art show honoring still-President Elect BARACK OBAMA‘s epic inauguration tomorrow needed any more heat, his crew of celeb homies showed up in full force to show their support in frigid DC. Rounding out the nite were rockers MOBY and MICHAEL STIPE, alongside actors JOAQUIN PHOENIX (chugging two beers at a time), HEATHER GRAHAM, CASEY AFFLEK, and ROSARIO DAWSON who all attested to the Big O’s greatness before digging on intimate performances by hipster elite SANTOGOLD and OG hip hop legends DE LA SOUL. Of course Supertouch buddy and “Manifest Hope”/Obama Campaign artist TRISTAN EATON was on hand to chronicle the debauchery, the least of which we can show you here. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Supertouch‘s resident Popagandist and billboard liberator RON ENGLISH put “Abraham Obama,” his incredibly unique hybrid portrait of BARACK OBAMA and ABRAHAM LINCOLN into play early in the Big O’s presidential campaign via a massive series of eye-catching posters wheatpasted, guerilla-style, across the walls of America’s urban centers. To commemorate the unique nature of today’s presidential election, MINDSTYLE TOYS has dropped their collaborative homage with Mr. English in the form of a gleaming white 16″ vinyl bust of “Abraham Obama,” sculpted by Vin Teng in a limited edition of 50 pieces. Retailing at $200 USD, the piece is available for order exclusively through Mindstyle.com. Don’t sleep. And more importantly, don’t forget to vote…
In a move that literally none of us could possibly anticipate, Supertouch’s own street saboteur & Popagandist, RON ENGLISH has written a musical homage to golden boy presidential hopeful BARACK OBAMA, and had it recorded by THE SUTCLIFFES, and just to up the ante, he’s filmed a video incorporating footage of his recent “Abraham Obama” street installation in Boston…
UFC impresario DANA WHITE threw an exclusive little party for 30 lucky heads (including the always-banging MANDY MOORE & the ever-dangerous CHUCK “THE ICEMAN” LIDDELL) at Hollywood’s VIPER ROOM on Wednesday where none other than legendary Runaway JOAN JETT rocked the house like she was 21 and just off the bus from nowheresville, USA. Of course, our man on the scene and official UFC correspondent EVERLAST, aka: Mr White, aka: Whitey Ford, was in the mix and popped a few flix. HAVE A LOOK:
*Guest blogs will be dropping on ST 2.0 soon, keep yer eyes peeled… Read More