They’ll queue around the block. They’ll brave the sun and rain. They’ll sleep the night on the street if they have to. More than anything, they’ll eagerly empty their bank accounts without thinking twice for something that they perhaps don’t even know they want.
Why? Simply because it’s Supreme.
It’s a phenomenon that’s quite hard to understand on why the moment the white block letter brand is stamped onto a product (preferably red in colour), there’s a demographic of young men who would religiously lap it up. It doesn’t matter if it’s Supreme mobile powerbanks or Daniel Johnston hoodies. Heck, it could even be a brick.
There is a blind devotion to the way all Supreme’s items get snapped up the moment they are released. Those that tail just a few seconds behind make do with whatever’s left – cap, boxer shorts, socks.
The bigger perplexity is how random its offerings are getting with each collection. The Fall 2020 collection premiered a tube of Colgate toothpaste and a Chuckie doll, no joke.
Is it blind luck or precise strategic marketing? A bit of both.
Relatable to the laymen but desired by the rich
It’s hard to conjure another brand, past or present, with such a devotion to allegiance. A big part has to do with its business strategy that draws from, ironically, a very humble background. Skate culture is simple. Skate culture is fuss-free. Skate-culture is easy.
Such is why its offerings are equally simplistic, which in turn makes it, and herein lies the biggest lesson, relatable. From its skateboards and hoodies to now iconic cash cannon money gun and nunchucks, its products are made for the laymen, yet desired by the rich.
No matter what your social standing or age, there’s something from Supreme that will catch your eye, be it FOMO or nostalgia. Yet only a select few can afford it, making every single seemingly mundane item highly covetable.
Simply put, it’s hit the sweet spot between demand and exclusivity.
Less is indeed more (money)
If the brand has a mantra, it would probably read along the lines of exclusivity. It’s a pattern applied to its number of stores worldwide – only 12 in the world in its 25-year history – and their number of items released in each season.
While other brands produce more of something when it’s in high demand, Supreme does the opposite. It stops making it. It sounds counterintuitive but what they’ve created is a bubble of limited editions that continue to rake up its own value.
It’s almost impossible to get your hands on a desirable Supreme item, which makes fans seek it out more. Can’t get what you want? It’s not uncommon for most fans to then settle for second best.
This going against the fundamentals of demand and supply of basic economics also gives the brand its rebellious image, which brings us to our next reason of why Supreme does what it want and sells you what it wants.
It doesn’t care
There’s a cool nonchalance to the brand that draws the money in. Whether you’re high fashion Louis Vuitton or streetwear Bathing Ape, Supreme wants to be friends with you. The brand has, in fact, partnered with brands from both ends of the price spectrum to release its brand of designer wear and random oddities. It doesn’t recognize cliques or squads or circles. More accurately, it doesn’t care.
It is the pinnacle of cool, the imperturbable foreign exchange student who accepts anyone and everyone to make them feel not just welcomed, but like they belong.
That’s the whole idea it is selling itself upon. By wearing Supreme, you’re relatable yet at the same time uniquely, exclusively you. By carrying Supreme, you’re one of a kind and impossible to duplicate. By repping Supreme, you’re up there, but still one of the crowd – the cool crowd.
Just ask the guys queueing around the block, braving the sun and rain, and sleeping on the streets.