Supreme and its founder James Jebbia have landed Vogue coverage in its September issue in an article that acknowledges that the fashion community is just now catching up with the phenomenon that is Supreme, a brand/boutique founded in 1994.
Late to the table or not, it’s a good read because Jebbia famously reluctant to do interviews and it’s always interesting to hear him come out of his shell and reveal a thing or two.
Describing the secret sauce responsible for the brand’s success, the U.K.-raised Jebbia said, “My thing has always been that the clothing we make is kind of like music. There are always critics that don’t understand that young people can be into Bob Dylan but also into the Wu-Tang Clan and Coltrane and Social Distortion. Young people and skaters are very, very open-minded to music, to art, to many things, and that allowed us to make things with an open mind.”
Vogue described Supreme’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton as a turning point for the “front rows of fashion shows,” and checked in with Louis Vuitton menswear designer Kim Jones who said he loved working with Supreme.
Said Jones, “When you see the lines for Supreme in New York or London, you see so many different types of people, and they are people you can relate to—they understand high-low, they’re smart, they’re intelligent, and they’re humorous. They know what they want, and they are very loyal and a customer who is loyal is a real aspiration for anybody with a brand.”
The article also covers the 54-year old Jebbia’s retail history, starting as a sales assistant at a SoHo store called Parachute, running a table at the nearby flea market, and opening Union, a boutique specializing in U.K. brands on Spring Street in 1999. He also helped Shawn Stüssy run his SoHo Stüssy boutique and when he announced he was retiring, Jebbia decided it was time to open his first store on Lafayette Avenue.
While Vogue made note of the Louis Vuitton collaboration, Jebbia told the magazine it was Supreme’s partnership with Comme des Garçons, in 2012 that changed the game. “I think that opened a lot of doors, a lot of eyes,” Jebbia said.
Jebbia also opened up on his behind-the-Supreme-scenes life and discussed his two children (ages eight and 10) and his wife, Bianca, who the article says grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, in a Chilean family and raises their children at their apartment in Lower Manhattan.
Perhaps revealing on the biggest reasons for the chain’s success, Jebbia closed by saying, “I’ve seen brands get comfortable, but I’ve never felt comfortable. I’ve always felt every season could be our last.”
The image above is shot by Anton Corbijn for Vogue and it shows Supreme skaters Javier Nunez and Tyshawn Lyons, model Paloma Elsesser, James Jebbia, Jen Brill, skater Tyshawn Jones, Chloë Sevigny (who dates Supreme designer Ricky Saiz), skaters Sean Pablo Murphy and Mark Gonzales, among others.