Selling the Supreme Archive

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I’m going to start this article asking one question – what is Supreme? By now, unless you’ve situated yourself in a fashion-repellent hermit shell, or simply have little interest in the streetwear scene, you will now the recent rise (and controversy) in Supreme’s latest devotees, or what people call, ‘hypebeasts’.

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Supreme has skyrocketed to the absolute high heavens in resell prices and has now had a lot of backlash in becoming a ‘High End’ brand, particularly due to its recent collaboration with Louis Vuitton. However, MANY are holding hypebeasts and resellers responsible. In fact, Supreme has even now become somewhat of a historically acclaimed brand, having Ross Wilson, freelance writer and DJ, showcasing and selling his extensive collection including over 1000 pieces available for purchase. With prices ranging anything from £22 to £2,550 and pieces ranging from F&F exclusives to The North Face collaborations, it’s hardly surprising that many have begun to interrogate what influence this will have on resell in the future and how this have attributed to hypebeast culture.

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Having my Dad being accountable for my interest in streetwear, particularly Supreme and the subculture that it attracts, it’s shocking witnessing and learning about the price rocket. At the private showcase of the archive collection at The Idle Man, sponsored by CIROC Ultra Premium Vodka, I admittedly spent a large proportion of my time scoping the silly high prices for pieces, some of which incredibly poor condition. However, I did comprehend one thing – this is no longer ‘silly high’. Increasingly, people began to worry after the prices were listed whether this now reflected the going rates on all Supreme items (I mean, £350 for a 1999 Box Logo tee that was covered in bleach stains and had no sleeves? REALLY?), and you wouldn’t be a fool to think this.

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I’m yet to make sense of this: from a small scale skate shop founded in Manhattan 1994 to an exclusively known brand with queues outside every store lasting for centuries on drop days. Recently more than ever, many people who have had an interest in Supreme since the ‘early days’ have kicked up quite the stink, complaining that their once favourite brand has become completely inaccessible, due to it’s popular demand and escalated prices, like in Wilson’s collection.

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A multitude of people I have seen online have already begun to shred the archive, saying it’s just another event that will ruin its original culture.  Now hold on; although my tone has been relatively negative throughout this article, to say that the archive is going to ‘ruin Supreme’ is absolute donkey shite. It is events like these that brought together hundreds of people in one small room to discuss something they all have in common, to all come and see a collection of history throughout a brand that has succeeded incredibly throughout the years. This is positive and this isn’t being ruined. Yes, the culture behind it has expanded extensively, yes, like any other trend there has been some unwanted company and yes, it means that Supreme has become slightly harder to reach. But instead of sulking about what once was, I think it’s appropriate to celebrate what will be and what’s to come and that Wilson’s collection should be something that illuminates the community there was and (shock horror) still is.

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So, what is Supreme? It is still a skate wear brand and its true roots do still show. With its success came more wealth, more recognition and, unfortunately, more salty heads spitting all over the hard work put into the brand and events like the archive. I think it was incredible and an hour to see 22 years worth of fashion history in the flesh, and I think its even more incredible that this is all now up for grabs.

Words by Erin Thomas

All photos courtesy of The Idle Man