Yesterday, Supreme fans were not lining the sidewalks around its New York SoHo flagship for the streetwear brand’s latest “drop”, but newspaper kiosks around the city. By 9.30am, rush-hour commuters who had not secured the latest output from the hype machine – a special-edition cover wrap on the New York Post – had to relinquish hope, and turn to online sellers charging between $7 and $20 for the daily edition. The brand had once again stamped its influence by turning a tabloid news source into a sold-out commodity through the unlikeliest of collaborations: Supreme x Rupert Murdoch.
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The redesign, which was published in conjunction with Supreme’s autumn/winter 2018 lookbook, was the first time the publication had dedicated a full wraparound cover to a brand. “We knew that this would be a collector’s item,” New York Post publisher, Jesse Angelo, said of the striking red-and-white design. “Supreme is such a cool brand and we have so much affinity, to the design kinship of the logos, to being bold, and never shy, and New York-based.”
Yes, Supreme is having the last laugh by turning a piece of US press into a coveted commercial entity – and perhaps nodding to the president’s own business acumen – but are we reaching peak “merch”? And when will the hype juggernaut start to slow down?
The secret to Supreme’s success is, in part, down to these limited-edition collaborations, and the booming second-hand market the in-demand products generate. Previous fashion tie-ups include Louis Vuitton, Rimowa, Nike and Levi’s, while Kate Moss, Lou Reed and Wu-Tang Clan have taken turns as label ambassadors. Given its partnership with MetroCards last year, the New York Post collab might not seem offbeat for the 1994-founded skateboarding shop – until you consider the polarising politics behind the union. The New York Post has taken a supportive stance on Donald Trump’s policies in the past, whereas Supreme donated a percentage of T-shirt sales to help families affected by the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies.