Posts Tagged ‘Fashion’
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...
Supertouch homies RVCA have teamed up with anti-supermodel ERIN WASSON to create a new line of womenswear that premiered at FASHION WEEK in NYC on February 18th at the Milk Studios Penthouse to critical acclaim. A native of Dallas, Texas, the 27-year-old has become the bad girl of fashion that Kate Moss wishes she actually was with her take-no-prisoners approach to style. The show attracted a crew of hipsters and tastemakers who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with fashionistas to catch sight of Wasson’s to-die-for frame as much as the new gear she and her cadre of drool-worthy models were wearing.Read More
Graffiti writer and artist ESPO (aka: Stephen Powers) weighs in with his thoughts on the so-called world of "street art" with his January design for monthly T-shirt subscription service, T-SHIRT MONTHLY. Subscribe now and wear yours with pride...
Must-have OBAMA streetwear on the streets of DC...
Simultaneously paying homage to the unforgettable "Black Bart" bootleg tees of the early '90s and the historical moment of President-Elect BARACK OBAMA's impending inauguration, NYC streetwear label MISHKA has produced this must-have celebratory T-shirt in time for proud display on January 20th. Finish it off with a pair of Cross Color overalls (only one strap fastened, of course) a Kanai jean jacket, and a Gumby fade, and you're a made man...
Undoubtedly, a legion of young hipsters, streetwear fashionistas, and luxury goods junkies would be left scratching their heads in bewilderment if pressed to elaborate on the legacy of STEPHEN SPROUSE. Luckily, the legendary downtown art shrine known as DEITCH PROJECTS, in collaboration with Parisian luxury brand LOUIS VUITTON has provided an immersive introduction to the late artist's indelible legacy in the form of their epic "Rock on Mars" retrospective exhibition that opened its doors to a cadre of NYC's illuminati last nite. A pioneering designer who cut his teeth in the fertile late '70s & early '80s downtown scene (his earliest client was downstairs neighbor Debbie Harry), Sprouse daringly infused day-glo graphic elements of crucial counterculture scenes like graffiti, punk, and hippies into an array of groundbreaking and always rock-centric fashion statements over the course of his roughly 20 year career. Forever plagued by soaring highs and crushing financial lows, the designer was rescued from the brink of obscurity by Marc Jacobs when the designer tapped him to create a new line of instantly sold-out designs for Louis Vuitton in 2001, effectively revitalizing his name in the process. Unfortunately, lung cancer would claim the Sprouse's life in 2004 exactly at the precipice of a major comeback that would never be. Funded by Louis Vuitton as a grand homage to the oft-underappreciated visionary, the Deitch exhibition collected previously unshown fine artworks originally created by Sprouse for an unrealized show called "Rock on Mars," with vintage fashion drawings and iconic clothing designs to provide the most comprehensive overview of the artist's prodigious oeuvre ever assembled. Opening to the public this weekend, the show is the first must-see event of the New Year, shining a much-needed light on an otherwise gloomy art scene still coping with the "morning after" of 2008’s crippling economic collapse. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Painter KEHINDE WILEY's use of highly detailed floral motifs as backgrounds for his intricate portraits is legendary, and now the artist has translated this inspiration literally into a new line of clothing that will be making its commercial debut at the end of the year. Speaking to GQ magazine, Wiley explained: "In Nigeria I bought these amazing fabrics from open-air markets. I brought them back, photographed and sourced them for painting, then wondered what to do with them. I ended up working with the designer DAPO JAMIU-SOYOYE. You know that Michelin Man-style puffy coats? We made a series of those out of the fabrics and are going to sell them in a pop up store in New York in December '08 or January '09." HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Just in time for the economically depressed holiday season, vintage clothing remix masters DARREN "DR" ROMANELLI and A LOVE MOVEMENT's TETSUZO OKUBO have teamed up to create a happy little winter vest collection called DR LOVE. Available exclusively at the LA fashion institution MAXFIELD, the plush warmers combine vintage military garments, lush virgin leather, and an array of hippie & Americana flair that should be the cure for the upcoming winter blues. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
It's safe to say that we at Supertouch have a serious shoe fetish, but it's not often that we get to legitimately obsess over women's kix. The recent release of this sculptural pair of asymmetrical heels by London-based Iraqi modern architect ZAHA HADID for the little-known Brasilian eco shoe company MELISSA, however, proved to be just such an occasion, and stopped us in our tracks and made us stare just a little too long. And a model wasn't even wearing them. To celebrate the collaboration, Melissa has created a massive pair of the shoes as sculpture currently on display in their flagship boutique in Sao Paulo. Marc Newson, we expect your response in shoe form within six months. HAVE A LOOK: Read More