A book investigating the brand that put NYC skateboarding on the map
Famed skate store and cult brand Supreme has been the subject of many a skater's wet, sneaker-fueled dreams since James Jebbia founded it in 1994. What first began as an ode to the laid-back urban sport's apathetic but angry crowd has spawned artist-designed boards, videos directed by the likes of Damien Hirst and advertising campaigns featuring Kermit the Frog, Mike Tyson, among other unlikely collaborations.
The eponymous new book "Supreme" pays homage to the brand's forward-thinking invention and seamless representation of skate culture. Full-bleed photos catalog the posters, from Lou Reed in classic "fuck you" mode (he's rumored to have been paid a pretty penny for it) to the pin-up calendar from 2005 and an enviable layout of inventory, including sneakers and t-shirts, from the various collections.
As Glenn O'Brien writes in his introduction, "Supreme spreads style, but it also spreads thought and information. Culture is its business."
The book includes an interview between Jebbia and artist Kaws, with a preface by former Supreme employee Aaron Bondaroff, who since has gone on to start his own successful brands.
Spreads of the limited edition boards feature color palettes comically reinvented by Ryan McGinness, Kaws' red-and-black transmogrifications and Andrei Molodkin's classic "Fuck Bush"—which quickly became a catch-all slogan for Supreme's hardscrabble perspective.
Work by Takashi Murakami and Mr. boards reflects the brand's ascension in Japan, while the Sean Cliver painted versions recreate fifties illustrations with a sick twist. A major part of Supreme's business is nurturing these creations and simultaneously offering them at moderate prices, keeping in mind their street clientele.
Supreme's unapologetic style, often brassy and harsh, and its well-made, affordable clothes sparked an explosive combination. The reams of iconic shoe and shirt designs get full display, which include brand collaborations too with the likes of Nike, Timberland and Vans.