Among Supreme’s vast drop for spring 2017, two items in particular popped out, the Barack Obama African textile pieces (especially the anorak) and the Sade t-shirt. The Obama items stood out in large part simply because he’s beloved, but also because the Ghanian tribute textile perfectly reflects both his popularity and his African roots. And the Sade t-shirt carries weight for us because it has legit crossover appeal for women, a demographic Supreme tends to not speak to directly. (See more of our top Supreme picks for women here.)
We reached out to @supremecopies, who is known on Instagram for documenting the inspiration behind Supreme’s offerings. He has been featured on all the major streetwear blogs and when we spoke to him yesterday, he explained the main goal of his page is to provide education on Supreme history. FYI: He wants to stay anonymous, but we can say he is youthful, West-Coast based and deeply into Supreme.
FYI: The first week’s drop includes the Sade t-shirt, which is priced at $45, according to @dropsbyjay (see more info below). Product will hit stores today and will go live online on February 23rd at 11:00 AM EST.
Snobette: First off, do you have an all-time favorite Supreme piece?
SC: “Yea, I have a favorite graphic t-shirt, the Kate Moss 2006 graphic.”
Snobette: I think people don’t realize that story telling is so huge in streetwear. Why do you think makes Supreme such a good story teller?
SC: “I think when they bring in these references they enlarge their audience, but at the same time they educate their audience, which is really cool. Without Supreme kids my age wouldn’t know who Damien Hearst is or even Larry Clark. My parents even like some of my t-shirts, like the Clash one.”
Snobette: So the Obama print, what’s the story of it?
SC: “To my knowledge and from what I’ve been told, Obama visited Ghana in 2009, his first year in office. When he visited Ghana, they made him a tribute kanga cloth and there are photographs of people wearing them when he visited.
Snobette: Do you know exactly where that textile was manufactured? [Find more info on African textile history here and here.]
SC: “I’m not sure where it was manufactured. It’s a very traditional African textile. They often feature faces of prominent politicians. There are pictures from his trip of people wearing them with him in the picture.
Snobette: When do you think Supreme spotted the textile?
SC: “Hard to say, but the Obama textile eventually found its way to Harlem. The West African vendors starting selling it. I’m not sure how it got to Harlem, but it did. And that is presumably how someone from Supreme came to find the idea. I have an image someone sent me of an older Asian woman walking out of a subway, wearing an Obama button up and that was in 2015.” [In his post on the Obama, shirt, @supremecopies also mentions actress Victoria Rowells wearing it to the 2009 Emmy Awards.]
Snobette: Is there anything else about the Supreme textile worth noting beside the Obama photo?
SC: The way the textile includes the word Supreme on the button up. The original read “akwaaba,” meaning welcome in Ghana, and now it says Supreme. [Supreme] does that, it swaps out words and logos for its own.”
How do you view the Obama pieces in terms of desirability?
SC: “If you look at past few seasons, the anorak has become very hyped up. Supreme did the Stone Island anorak in 2015 and it’s becoming a trend. One of a kind very authentic anoraks are becoming a trend. The Obama button up is expected for that textile, but to have that on an anorak makes it very special. I think the pants will sell well as well. Also, the button up is the same silhouette as the [John F. Kennedy] button up from 2012. That JFK button up is probably pulled from a 1960 textile and pattern and Obama’s probably has a similar design.
Snobette: Wait, let me do a search and see what you’re talking about with the JFK button up. Oh, okay, but that reminds me a little of the Obama print. How long has Supreme been doing the photo screen face prints like that?
SC: “Over the past six or seven years. The JFK one does mimic the kanga, but I’ve yet to look into that. It lacks a background pattern.”
Snobette: Some people on social media were bothered by Supreme using the kanga print. They said it was appropriation.
SC: “There were some people complaining about appropriation, though a lot of people see it as a good way to commemorate a president who is loved and respected. Supeme has been openly liberal since the early 2000s with ‘fuck bush’ stickers and skate decks.”
Snobette: What’s the best way to guarantee getting the Obama pieces?
SC: “The pants you should be able to buy online. They will be available, but the anorak will sell out very quickly. The button up will go fast, too, just not as fast. If you want it guaranteed, you should go through a service like @supreme_access. He’s a friend.”
Snobette: Okay so let’s talk about the Sade t-shirt. How many of those do you think were made?
SC: “Probably a ton. If you only want that item, you should be able to get it. It depends on how big of a color palette there is. If it’s only white and black, it might be harder to come by.”
Snobette: What’s the origin of the Sade photo?
SC: “The Sade photo is an older photo of her from some photo shoot. It was also featured on a tour t-shirt way back when. I feel like because of that, they only had to pay rights for that particular photo so they probably didn’t pay as much for it.”
Snobette: What colors might be offered?
SC: “Photo t-shirts usually come in eight colorways, it depends. The black or white is considered to be ‘the one.'”
Snobette: If you’re buying online, what should be the strategy?
SC: “You have to be online at launch time and focus on picking up one item, either the anorak if that’s what you want or the Sade. You don’t want to try and buy both.”
Snobette: What item do you want from spring 2017?
SC: “The Sade t-shirt, the wool sweater they do every year and the pill button up and the split khaki/pink chino pants.”
For more tips on buying online, this Reddit thread has great tips.
Check out @supremecopies Instagram post on the Obama print below plus pricing info from @dropsbyjay.
With the preview and lookbook released today, I figure it’s time to cover at least one piece revealed today- or should I say piece(s). We arrive at perhaps the most interesting collection of the entire season, the ‘Obama,’ series (which consist of a pair of pants as well). This isn’t the first time Supreme has payed homage to Obama with a graphic (although many aren’t aware), and in this day and age the collection only makes sense. We date back to 2009, Obamas first year in office. The then new President visits the African country of Ghana. To commemorate the visit, locals produced many ‘Kangas,’ a traditionally large piece of textile, riddled with vibrant patterns and political graphics, made to be worn (exemplified bottom right.) What has since been replaced with ‘Supreme,’ once said ‘Akwaaba,’ – meaning ‘Welcome.’ At the time, dresses and button-downs alike were made of the print, making their way into the US and specifically Harlem (exemplified bottom left). Actress Victoria Rowells memorably wore a dress of the textile the same year to the Emmy Awards. Interesting to see Supreme with a more recent reference, as well as take their own hand at the pattern with one of their more recently popular articles, the Anorak. Shoutout to @trmmll and @streetchief for the images and info! #supremeforsale #supreme4sale
Supreme Week One In Store Drop
Talk About A Massive Drop!
What You Guys Going For
Cheers To SS2017 pic.twitter.com/0vMFuWKAhS
— JP (@DropsByJay) February 15, 2017