Just in-case you were living under a rock, or maybe on a planet outside of our galaxy, Supreme is an American skateboarding shop and clothing brand established in New York City in April 1994. The brand produces clothes and accessories and also manufactures skateboards.
Its shoes, clothing, and accessories are sold in a limited quantity and make a killing in the resell market. The distinctive red box logo with “Supreme” in white Futura Heavy Oblique is largely based on Barbara Kruger’s propaganda art.
Let’s leave that Supreme behind for a few minute and focus what I like to call FUPREME. To cover the Why’s to an Italian brand selling “legal fake” Supreme items to its consumers without any recriminations.
Supreme Italia sometimes referred to as Supreme Barletta has been flooding the Italian market with ersatz Supreme for years by exploiting a technicality in which Supreme owner James Jebbia has yet to claim the rights to his brand’s name. This goes back to a dispute with conceptual artist Barbara Kruger, whose aesthetic was appropriated by the streetwear giant way back.
Speaking to four prominent store managers Valerio Ghisi of Stone Soup, Alessandro Altomare of Maison Group, Alberto Campo of Blackwater Store, and Davide Marre of INNER Milano based throughout Italy, NSS asks who is to blame for the bootleg merchandise and why the products are proving so popular.
The first step to understanding such a phenomenon is to acknowledge Supreme’s position in Italy. Most likely, the superbrand didn’t really care that much for the Italian market, and, in legal terms, this has left some gaps that allowed a group of simple manufacturers to register their activity under the name Supreme.
It’s a boomerang effect the web created. The data are too accessible to all. On this millennium’s early days, it would have been impossible for a simple manufacturer to understand the subcultures’ business.
The phenomenon, according to those who still have a work ethic, must be condemned at all costs, both from retailers and consumers or Supreme will just be the first in a long series of brands that will be plagiarised in Italy. Those living in the area where Supreme Italia is made have nicknamed this phenomenon “legal fake”.
Our times are a jungle in which creativity is destined to die. There are no controls over distributions, anyone can have anything, and if the trick fails then you pass on to the copy of the copy. Social networks can be a weapon in favour of this bad system. The constant bombardment of images can be confusing, everything looks the same and no one is interested in reading between the lines.
Having underestimated the Italian market, the brand won’t act until the legal fake will spread outside Italy, or until, in order to sell more, it will higher its standards in terms of fonts, logo, releases, etc.
I believe that the stores are the ones to blame for this. The retailer should be able to educate the client and direct him towards quality products with a history. Giving visibility to this kind of products is only ruining the market and giving rise to others in proposing some sad projects like this.
For me this is definitely of the tracks. People should not support the lack of respect of someone’s creativity and hard work. Why must we copy / duplicate an existing brand just to make money? Why can we work towards something new and unique? Something authentic and fresh?
On that note I must say that Supreme is no stranger to ripping off artists and concepts themselves, which opens up a can of worms in terms of streetwear ethics and further complicates the Supreme Italia situation.
Check out Supreme Italia merchandise: www.supreme-italy.com
Check out SUPREME merchandise: www.supremenewyork.com