Supreme has become synonymous with skateboarding, limited merchandise, and astronomical resale values, but none of that really explains why the streetwear brand is so popular. After all, things like niche markets, limited runs, and high prices aren't exactly revolutionary in the fashion world. So, what's up with Supreme? What has made it such a successful brand in spite of its unusual marketing tactics and admittedly basic products?
Many of the answers lie in the company's history. The first Supreme store opened in New York City in 1994, and its streetwear soon gained a following with the city's skateboarding community. As the company grew, it collaborated with a number of high-profile clothing brands like Nike, The North Face, Vans, and Timberland. The products resulting from these partnerships increased the company's visibility and introduced it to a larger audience. Suddenly, Supreme wasn't just for skaters anymore.
In August 2018, rapper Lil Yachty announced he would give fans a chance to buy his complete Supreme collection as well as a pair of autographed Maison Margiela x Converse sneakers. Item prices range from $100 to $5,000. While pricey, this is much less than one would pay at an average retailer. Party of Lil Yachty's motivation was the fact he was not always able to afford expensive designer products and wanted to give fans the chance to own items they could not normally afford.
On August 16, 2018 - Madonna's 60th birthday - the clothing line released a graphic t-shirt celebrating the Material Girl. The shirt, part of Supreme's first drop for fall/winter 2018, features a photo of Madonna shot by Gary Heery for her 1983 eponymous debut album. The tee comes in nine different colors and retails at $44.
On August 13, 2018, the New York Post did something new: It teamed up with Supreme for a special-edition cover. The publication had previously worked with other entertainment and retail entities, but they'd never forgone a sensational headline for a skate wear brand's logo.
New Yorkers had a difficult time finding the paper. Within hours, the publication, which usually goes for a dollar, was up on resale sites for $10 a pop.
In 2017, Supreme launched its own take on New York City's MetroCard, the pass used by commuters to ride the city's public transit system. The retail price was $5.50, the standard cost of a roundtrip subway ride. People lined up around the block to purchase the MetroCards from the Supreme store in SoHo. Individuals have since resold the cards for up to $1,000 on the internet.