While Supreme is most often known for its use of raw imagery and profanity, there was once a time where the brand was willing to go where no one dared to venture. Supreme opened its doors on Lafayette St in Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1994. The brand was initially supported by local skaters who looked to channel their angst through Supreme's boldly nonchalant attitude. While Supreme continues to push its creative edge with monumental collaborations, the brand has received a $1 Billion (USD) evaluation by the Carlyle group.
Which begs the question. "Has Supreme fallen off? Has Supreme sold out?" While the answer to that question is extremely subjective, we decided to point out a few changes in the brands visual direction over the years.
In 2005, Supreme decided to take free speech as far as possibly by creating the "Fuck Bush" box logo sticker. This sticker was a direct response to 43rd presidents run in office. Interestingly enough, Supreme has not directed any messages towards President Trump as we draw closer to the anniversary of the 45th President's inauguration. These box logo stickers were made while George W. Bush was still in office. While the brand has made a "Fuck the President" t-shirt in 2017, the message is not as clear as the "Fuck Bush" sticker which is aimed directly at the 43rd president of the United States of America which leaves many wondering why they are taking a more indirect approach in design.
In 2008, Supreme collaborated with artist Sean Cliver to design an entire collection that pushed the boundaries of what was considered safe to print in a t-shirt. The collection consisted of designs featuring children on Halloween dressed as KKK Clansmen, Hitler, Jesus and blackface going trick or treating. The collection also featured designs depicting the sacrifice of a baby as well as a child snorting cocaine off of a rocking horse. The brand has not seen a collaboration this provocative since the Andres Serrano "Blood and Seamen" collection. Although the Serrano collaboration featured photography of a crucifix submerged in urine, it is not clear to the public that the design is submerged in urine unless they know of the photographer’s work.
In 2008, Supreme also released the "Pledge of Allegiance tee" which depicted children marching with signs that read "I will never pledge allegiance to their flag". In 2017, the brand designed the "I pledge allegiance to shit" keychain and 6-Panel SnapBack. Which embody the same attitude, but the message is not as direct as the anarchy sensed in the initial 2008 design. While the brand actively used anarchy inspired imagery very often over the years, they did take their position as a global voice responsibly in the 2016 election by encouraging their supporters to go out and vote.
Supreme has gone from being involved in a cease and desist with Louis Vuitton to collaborating with the fashion juggernaut. They have single-handedly taken their place in the world of streetwear and fashion alike as the rightful leaders of what the next trend will be. While this is all highly debatable and subjective, the question still remains. "Has Supreme fallen off?" The question is up to you to answer.