Jul 20, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
When Supreme opened in ’94, New York had a style of skating like no other. It wasn’t your ordinary dudefest. Matter of fact, it was no dudes allowed. These skaters were your train-hopping, taxicab-jumping, runaway kids- born and raised in the city. And the uniform they were dressed in was the brand’s signature box logo tee and of course denim jeans.
It’s been 20 years since the birth of this aesthetic, yet like most of the 90s era and early-90s skate culture, denim has remained an essential part of Supreme’s identity. But now, the slouchy jeans are a little bit more fitted; the denim jackets come in a more sophisticated palette of colours; the imagery is more mature. And just as designers like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Vetements are selling their unique take on the era’s idiosyncratic denim style, Supreme too embodies this new garde of American classicism without dwelling in dusty clichés.
Over the years the New York skate brand has offered up some of the most unique and unexpected denim styles, many of which your average run-of-the mill denim brand wouldn’t dare to sell. Think twill takes mao jackets, bandana printed bombers, and GORE-TEX Windstopper denim backpacks. The brand has also used its collaboration platform to team up with icons like Levi’s, The North Face and A.P.C. to create some of streetwear’s most coveted pieces. Here we take a look at our top 10 iconic Supreme denim pieces from over the years:
1. Supreme X Levi’s S/S 16
This week (May 5th), Supreme will launch its latest collaboration with the original American jeans brand, Levi’s. Like their previous A/W 15 collab with loud zebra print denim pieces, S/S 16 follows in a similar thread with a coordinated set in printed florals. Offered in both a clean and washed print, the drop features Levi’s iconic Type-III trucker shape along with their custom taper 505 jeans (view full collection here).
2. S/S 13 Fuck Printed Denim Jacket
One of Supreme’s first ‘hype’ or statement denim pieces, this printed jacket has become one of the labels most sought after pieces with resell prices reaching up to £600. The item was released as part of a set that included shorts, 5-panel cap and tote bag that featured an allover “F*ck” print in monchrome palette. For sure a NSFW item and guaranteed to raise a fair few eyebrows, the jacket perfectly reads the brands IDGAF attitude. For S/S 16 the brand released a similar style print with its signature Fuck ‘Em All graphic on a 90s-inspired denim hooded pullover.
3. S/S 14 Supreme X Playboy
Supreme’s Playboy collaborations are one of the labels most successful and sought after, and this denim jacket was no different. Released in black and white in a solid 13.75 oz denim, the jacket featured co-branding on the reverse with the Playboy’s iconic bunny head. Any denim heads will have noticed that this jacket style, along with many of Supreme’s other denim jackets, is a take on Lee’s Rider jacket.
4. S/S 16 Pink Denim Jacket
Known for releasing items in an elusive manner — a deliberate strategy implemented to ensure the brand’s rebellious, nonconformist views remain aligned with its public persona — Supreme has managed to make each collection, past and present, more of a sporting event than an archetypal release. Whether it be a collaborative or in-season drop, lines faithfully form outside stores each week; consumers awaiting to get their hands on apparel or accessories they have been eyeing all season with each item more sought-after than the next. This pink denim jacket, was this seasons most exclusive piece, drawing lines around the block and selling out online in under 20 seconds. One for the serious ‘Preme heads, not many made it for resell but the ones that did hit prices of £1500+ (original retail £160) this definitely sits up amongst some of the brands most rare pieces.
5. A/W 09 Supreme x A.P.C.
Supreme founder and owner, James Jebia has always cited APC as one of his inspirational labels so it came as no surprise when the two brands collaborated on a capsule back in ’09. The 2 piece collection perfectly combined the design aesthetic of two icons, with carefully considered co-branding and subtle details that make this one for the real OG Supreme heads. The collections consisted of two different pieces, a pair of premium raw selvedge jeans and a graphic t-shirt. The denim took cue from A.P.C.’s iconic New Standard with hard-wearing Japanese selvedge denim which is designed to break in with use from its dry, rigid state for a completely personalised fit and feel. This was of contrast to the regular pre-washed jeans that were favoured at that time, especially amongst skater community. This is an example of how Supreme not only successfully spreads and elevates style, but also spreads thought and information. The “F*ck ‘Em!” embroidery on the rear pocket later got lampooned in the short-lived television show How to Make It In America where brand Crisp knocked it off with”F*ckin’ Crisp!”.
6. S/S 15 Supreme X The North Face
Since its inception back in S/S 07, Supreme’s collaboration with The North Face has become one of the brands most successful seasonal capsules. Each season the the brand surprises with unexpected and obscure designs that pair TNF’s technical apparel with Supreme’s streetwear design. Their S/S 15 collab proved no different with a jaw-dropping collection of technical denim pieces that include an expedition style jacket and pants along with coordinated duffel bags and trek style hat, all of which featured Gore Windstopper 3-layer denim. While it seemed more right for winter than summer, the understated and technical design of the collection was still a big hit for fans worldwide.
7. S/S 14 Kung Fu Jacket
Supreme is never one to skirt away from quirky style risks. Known for their streetwear reiterations of military or traditional uniforms, the brand threw a curveball for summer 14 when they released this denim take on the classic Chinese Mao jacket. Complete with signature Mandarin collar and frog fastening and rendered in light stonewash denim, the item was instant hit (and immediate sell-out) with Supreme fans.
8. S/S 16 Supreme x Black Sabbath
This year, Supreme teamed up with legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath for a collection of goods that were inspired by the artwork of the British bands early releases. One of the key pieces of the collection was this trucker jacket, offered in stonewash and black, and featuring Sabbath’s debut album (Black Sabbath) artwork. The image features a depiction of Mapledurham Watermill, situated on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. Standing in front of the watermill is a figure dressed in black. The name of the woman pictured on the front cover is forgotten, though guitarist Iommi says that she once showed up backstage at a Black Sabbath show and introduced herself.
9. A/W 11 Supreme X Levi’s
Supreme has great products and much of its designs gives consumers good value. The brands designers certainly have an acute eye for vintage style and classic product that not only has unique style and flash, but also longevity. This early collaboration is example of this, with a selection of Levi’s most iconic products from its 70s Orange Tab range. An unusual selection in itself, as the orange tab is usually associated with its hippy design references, Supreme successfully manages to reinterpret this archival look for its more streetwear conscious consumer with an on-point suede trucker jacket, chambray workshirt and matching bucket hat.
10.S/S 14 Denim Parka
An item that truly embodies early-90s skate style, this denim parka is one of the brands lesser known and understated denim pieces. The coat features Supreme’s classic font that was introduced in ’94. This re-appropriation of Andre Courreges classic logo gave the new skate shop another version of its namesake on a T-shirt. This would clearly evolve into something bigger than the brand expected, as its small batch of T-shirts were beginning to sell out among all the neighborhood kids, including this very popular version, the origins of which few were privy.
Like what you just read? Follow Samuel on Instagram for the latest indigo inspiration and denim news.
DENIM HEAD? Our team of experts are at every trade show, determine tomorrow’s trends and know which looks are going to have a huge impact on your business. Sound good? Join WGSN.
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.