When Supreme started making clothes in 1994, its ethos was crystal clear. It was a downtown skate brand for downtown skaters.
I’m sure I’ve reported my head basketball coach stories a million times on this site (hyperbole? yes… go with it). In those stories I talk about how I was the grumpy young coach running off the skaters from our yard in front of the gym. My high school, Crawford High in San Diego had some of the best rails to grind. Although I was a young coach and I understood skate culture as well as I did basketball, I had to yell, “get off of my lawn!” but in reality I didn’t care. I just had to fake like I did. The skaters were a part of the culture. They didn’t dress like anyone else. They didn’t respond to threats like other kids. They kind of lived outside of the norm and in San Diego that’s important considering skate culture began on the West Coast a couple of hours away in Venice and Dago is home to Tony Hawk.
I state all of that to say this, Wu Tang dropped in 94. Nas, Outkast, Digable Planets, all arrived around the time that Supreme arrived. I hadn’t heard of Supreme because I was getting ready to play college basketball the following year after getting out of the Navy. It wasn’t until later in the 2000s that I heard of Supreme. That’s because I was shifting heavy into sneaker culture and what would become known as streetwear. I ran Sho-Shot at the time.
Anyway, Supreme in a matter of ten years has become less about the defiance of skate culture and more about flipping. I don’t think that’s a good thing and this article maybe the best thing I’ve read explaining why.