No, I’m not “obsessed” with Supreme. Okay, maybe a little. For those of you who don’t know, Supreme is a skateboard company that turned street-wear into a clothing brand and was founded in 1994. Supreme is one of my favorite brands out there because of its constant creativity with designs. You may see me wearing Supreme, a lot. That’s because it’s expensive. I want to wear my money’s worth. That $150 sweatshirt I was talking about in my eBay piece I shared at meeting? You guessed it, that’s Supreme. The black beanie I always wear? Supreme, and $54. At this point you’re probably thinking; Mike, you’re just dumb, go to Marshalls and buy a hoodie. Fair point, I already do that but I’d like to explain myself.
Here’s the thing with Supreme. Aside from a few designs that have been around for 15 years, they don’t release any design twice. Now is probably a good time to explain how they release clothing. They have two lines that release every year. Fall/Winter (F/W) and Spring/Summer (S/S). Each of these “seasons” has a vast collection of products that range from pillboxes that say Supreme to a furry winter parka that says “Supreme” in Arabic on the back. These items release every Thursday both online and in-store. They only release online at supremenewyork.com and in store at Supreme mortar-and-brick locations across the country and internationally. Why Thursday? I’m not sure, but every Wednesday night outside of the Supreme Stores in Japan, New York and LA you’ll be “camping” to be the first few to be able to buy the latest “drop.” About 6 or 7 new items release every Thursday until that season’s collection has been sold out. Supreme plays with supply and demand as the basis of the company. They produce very limited, (Made in the USA more often than not) very high quality clothing and accessories once. So that beanie you always see me wear isn’t available in Supreme stores or their website anymore, and never will be again. That’s their philosophy. On top of this, they always produce a very small number of items. In contrast, Patagonia probably produced that jacket you see in store by the thousands, if not more. In an interview with the founder, James Jebbia, he said, “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.” (interviewmagazine.com) So Supreme has created a formula that if they create great designs, and sell out all of them, then they’ll make their money that way.
But what happens to those 200 people that weren’t fast enough to buy what they wanted? That’s where I come in. I’m not trying to act like some savior. But if you follow the Supreme Instagram, and are on the Supreme forums and on eBay you can see which items from the collection are the most anticipated. So if I buy a $160 dollar hoodie in a size small (Supreme makes half as many smalls than any other size, so they are more limited), then depending on what the “resell” is looking like I can double my money with about 30 minutes of work. Not half bad I’d say. The best part is that you can’t really lose if you’re being smart about it. As long as you buy something that’s not hideous (and yes Supreme does make some pretty weird stuff, but most of it’s really awesome) then you’ll at least make your money back on it.
Supreme collaborates with a multitude of different brands and people ranging from H.R. Giger, the guy who created the concept art for the “Alien” series of movies, all the way to Kermit the Frog (no I’m not kidding). The more ridiculous the collaboration, the cooler it is, and the faster it will sell out, and the higher it will resell for. For example, there is a Supreme t-shirt with a print Mike Tyson wearing a Supreme shirt that sells for upwards of $250 dollars on eBay, if it’s even available.
There are a good amount of brands that have tried to recreate Supreme’s formula, but none are as old or successful as Supreme. This same process works for limited edition shoes, but trying to explain this market is 10x more complicated because there’s a much higher risk of the shoes not being worth a lot in the resell market. So combined with how limited they are, and the fact that they only release once Supreme has created quite the name for itself in the fashion world. It does take a little bit of work. I follow about 20 different Instagram and Twitter accounts and am a part of a bunch of forums. But honestly, I like it. It’s not like I dislike seeing all of the shoes and clothing on my Instagram, I really like following this stuff so in reality I’m not doing any work to make the money at all. It’s how I get gas and spending money through the last two winters when I haven’t been actually working. Supreme has totally bought me over. I love Supreme, but it is quite expensive. That’s why I buy and resell their clothing, to be able to buy more. Well-played James Jebbia.
Artwork by Emma Gramling