AUTHENTICITY CAN'T BE COMMERCIALIZED
Supreme is by far the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hype. Wearing a t-shirt with a red and rectangular logo means that you have the same level of cultural awareness as the creators of the brand and that you are just as authentic as the brand (even if you are not).
Little is known about the history of Supreme's founder, but the history of the brand has a long way to go. Supreme, which started as a skate shop in Manhattan 30 years ago, has always been a transgressive brand, which despite being a streetwear firm, has remained exclusive.
Supreme is pure meritocracy, through launching many items in limited numbers and at very low prices featuring a public figure, they create the perfect conditions for the hype storm.
But what kind of neurochemical reaction drives you to buy eight identical versions of the same expensive t-shirt?
Musa Ali, a London Supreme collector, explains: "In a way, what makes people want to buy at Supreme is the social and competitive aspect, that is, being able to go out on the street knowing that it is very unlikely that you will wear the same clothes that others wear."
Psychologically, we need to stand out from the rest. In ancient times, tribal members decorated their bodies with feathers or precious stones that differentiated them from other tribal members and helped them attract partners. Similarly, collecting Supreme articles allows people to build their authentic and unique (?) identity.
Perhaps the obsession - for some, at least - begins when they must maintain this projection.
So why are people queuing up in Soho this time?
The enfant terrible of French fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier and Supreme, under the influence of streetwear and in aim to break down the walls between luxury clothes and streetwear, have teamed up to create a collaborative collection of bomber-style jackets featuring an integrated backpack, floral prints and synthetic fur coats.
Gaultier, the most avant-garde male fashion designer to date, will always be remembered for the bold and different designs of the 1980s. He won over singers such as Madonna, who wore Gaultier costumes during the Blond Ambition tour in 1990, crowning THE corset, as the star garment. Almost thirty years later, Madonna’s daughter, Lourdes León, is now in charge of the release of Supreme x Jean Paul Gaultier. In the images of the collection, we can see her dressed in printed trousers, with the message “FUCK RACISM”. A tribute to Gaultier’s “Fight Racism” collection from the 1990s.
In the collaboration of Supreme x Jean Paul Gaultier, two collaborative silhouettes have been incorporated with Vans -Chukka Pro and Era Pro-. In addition to a special version of Gaultier’s perfume Le Male Fragance.
“I am thrilled by this revival of my sportswear and that the designs from my collections from the late ’80s and early ’90s will now be worn by millennials” says Gaultier.
Precisely the millenials, are a generation that has been exposed to global criticism as never before through social media, where they put on the game board the confidence in themselves and become an influenceable generation that have by default, a blurry authenticity on their person. Today, Supreme is that song that only you knew and that at some point you showed your friends, those who told you they didn't like that kind of music, but now that it plays on all the stations, everyone loves.
Going to the heart of the matter, although there is a small niche of people who still support Supreme's philosophy and feeling identify with what it was in the beginning, to what extent does it make sense to think that such a commercialized brand can represent authenticity?