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From Reigning the Streetwear Scene to Going MIA, Is Supreme Dead?

By August 15, 2023February 14th, 2024Supreme

In Queen’s famous words, another one bites the dust. We’ve witnessed the downfall of the biggest names in the sneaker industry over the years. And, Supreme might be the next in line. It was once one of the biggest culture-influencing juggernauts. But it seems to have lost its charm. From making big bucks selling its box-logo streetwear to losing $38 million in revenue, we can’t help but wonder: Is Supreme Dead?

Unveiling Supreme’s History

Before announcing its time of death, let’s remember when Supreme was… supreme. James Jebbia launched Supreme in 1994 in New York City. It first started as a skate shop at Lafayette street in New York. The store quickly became a hot spot for the neighborhood’s cool kids and skaters. James then started to print on hoodies and caps and customers really enjoyed them. Allegedly, he made the now iconic logo using the regular Word font Futura. So if you want to start a brand, you better get working on your Word skills!

Supreme Original Store at Lafayette Street, New YorkSetting the Grounds for the Best Selling Strategy 

James initially kept the inventory limited fearing that it’d pile unsold. However, it ended up selling so fast that customers would come to the store and find it empty. They too were asking “is Supreme dead?” while, in fact, it was in high demand. 

James then came up with a solution of dropping apparel each Thursday. This helped him retain his customers and create hype around his products consistently over the weeks. Several other brands adopted this strategy which is now the core of sneaker releases. 

First Store Outside of the USA

Supreme Store in JapanSupreme then boomed leading to the opening of the first store outside of the USA in Japan in 1996. This opened up a new era for Supreme outside of apparel: gadgets. There were many gadgets in the Supreme collection solely thanks to the Japanese love for these products. 

Supreme Not-So-Dead Collabs

Supreme collaborated with multiple celebrities and brands, to name a few:

They even made their presence known in the world of art by collaborating with renowned artists Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Supreme skate decks designed by them could’ve easily cost you 50 THOUSAND dollars. No one was wondering if Supreme is dead because it was more alive than ever. 

Adding to that the plethora of celebrities who flaunted their Supreme products like

  • Kanye West
  • Rihanna
  • Drake
  • Kendall Jenner
  • Cara Delevingne 
  • John Mayer
  • Justin Bieber

Why Are We Saying Supreme Is Dead Then?

Given this golden rundown of events, and exponential growth, Supreme must be excelling. Well… they were. They had products selling within seconds. Here are a few products from SS19 and the time they took to be wiped off the shelves completely: 

  • Supreme X Stone Island Vest – Time: 3.3s
  • Mesh Stripe Pocket Tee – Time: 3.6s
  • Supreme X Stone Island Hoodie – Time: 3.7s
  • Supreme X The North Face Arc Logo Fleece Jacket – Time: 4.4s 
  • Pinstripe Varsity Jacket – Time: 4.5s

Supreme Box logoThey even had fans queuing up for hours in front of their stores at times of their releases. Pinterest was flooded with ways to style your ‘preme fits. Resellers were making thousands and thousands of dollars from Supreme products. Fans were always in awe of Supreme’s iconic collabs. And recently Supreme switched its supremenewyork.com website to the Shopify powered supreme.com website instead. Wait, then why are we asking if Supreme is dead? 

Where’s the Supreme is Dying Part?

Supreme sales have dipped below expectations. VF corporations were expecting the brand to bring them $600 million in revenues for the 2022 fiscal year. According to Yahoo Finance, Supreme reported only $561.5 million in revenue in the fiscal year ending March 2022. And, in the fiscal year ending March 2023, they reported an even less revenue of $523.1 million

Products that were once impossible to get are now easy to cop. Supreme’s Spring Summer Collection 2023, one of Supreme’s hottest drops, sat online for days. SS23 TNF Nuptses are selling for barely $100 over retail price. Moreover, TNF x Supreme jackets had a resell average price of $2.5K and now it’s below $1K

So, Is Supreme Dead?

Supreme isn’t performing as well as it used to, that’s for sure. But, is Supreme actually dead? The dead terminology in this industry doesn’t necessarily mean that the brand is declaring bankruptcy. In fact, Supreme is still bringing in revenue and still has its own fanbase. In fact, we’re a few days from a whole new Supreme season

But what we mean is that the hype around the brand has significantly dialed down. Weekly droplists on SupremeCommunity used to attract tens of thousands of votes from fans are struggling to draw a couple of thousand reactions. Supreme products are sitting a bit longer on shelves when they used to sell out in seconds. And, collabs aren’t getting the same responses as before.

The question here is why is Supreme dead? Some are saying that the brand has made its community desensitized after collaborating with everyone on planet Earth. 

Others are saying that it’s simply the economy. And some are even saying that their customer base simply grew up and their interests are now different moving to more “mature” brands. 

All in all, this might be just another normal cycle. Who knows maybe soon enough we’ll be asking ourselves how is Supreme topping the charts again.