Read the image above and then take a look at yourself. Did this apply to you? This is one of the original images in the Subtle Asian Traits facebook page that sparked discussion and dozens of spin-off posts directed towards male ‘fuccbois.’ The post asserts that wearing hyped clothing is just a medium to mask lack of personality traits and other interests. When I first saw this meme I laughed, tagged all my hypebeast friends, and forgot about it. A few days later the same post popped resurfaced on my feed. It got really popular and other posts started sprouting up talking about the same thing. That got me thinking: ‘is there any merit to this meme?’
Supreme is still one of streetwear’s most coveted brands and the fashion people you are following on Instagram have at least one photo of them in Supreme. Okay, so why is Supreme so popular? Supreme thrives on going against the material covered in your intro to econ class–Supreme reduces supply to increase demand. Having fewer inventory allows them to achieve several things. First, they have fewer design lines to work on so more resources go towards their designs compared to other brands with many lines. Second, having a scarcity of items introduces the idea of ‘exclusivity.’ When an item is released only once, it gives the impression of rarity, scarcity, and collectability.
Just search Google and you will find hundreds of groups dedicated to talking about collecting, buying, and selling Supreme. These groups serve as echo-chambers and inadvertently ‘brainwash’ people into the Supreme mentality. This happens because Supreme is placed as the main focal point of discussion. One who spends a considerable amount of time browsing these groups will only see discussion on Supreme and that will be the most recent thing on their mind. Self-proclaimed Supreme fanatics are pretty common in these communities, easily garnering thousands of likes and comments by posting their extensive collections.
Supreme doesn’t have to actively spend money on internet advertisements. Just search #Supreme on Instagram and you will see a constant flood of people showing off their new Supreme item, often times counterfeit. You will see many people, often from all backgrounds, proudly rocking their clearly fake Supreme shirt. This indicates the level at which this brand has ascended to. Supreme is a social-economic aspiration that many seek to obtain. This is one of the driving factors to why people like this brand so much–it is to show off to others their level of wealth.
According to the WorldTradeMarkReview, Supreme is the most counterfeited fashion brand in the world and ironically that actually helps their sales. Massive online communities dedicated to discussing where to buy the best replica and counterfeit clothing unapologetically dominate a large amount of fashion internet space. Groups such as r/fashionreps feature posts by users who review their latest clothing purchase and give reviews on its authenticity and quality compared to the original piece. In 2016, the Supreme box logo hoodies was one of the most popular items among the community. Chinese manufacturers were pushing out ‘1:1’ and ‘perfect’ Supreme hoodies and they sold like wildfire. Inevitably, the craze died down, but Supreme still remains one of the most talked about brands in the group. The massive influx of counterfeit items into the Supreme economy has numerous implications. First, this drives the prices of authentic Supreme higher. People who will buy second hand Supreme will gravitate towards buying from trusted and established sellers. Because of the low number of trusted sellers price fixing occurs and the top trusted sellers set their prices higher which causes the rest of the market to follow suit. An increase of prices leads to an elevated perception of Supreme’s brand.
So we have a better understanding of what drives people to go crazy over Supreme, so let’s bring it back to the meme. Who are the people this meme is referring to and why the hate? Okay, let’s play armchair psychologist. We know that the majority of people Supreme’s demographic is overwhelmingly younger individuals, particularly under the age of thirty. We can say that the average young person does not have many defining personality traits or interests due to lack of life experience. Young people are more easily influenced and seek to fit into groups so when they find Supreme, they will make it part of their identity because of the strong influence it has.
Next, have to define the ‘fuccboi look.’ Expensive outfits posted in Supreme groups are unobtainable by most people so the look consists of fast-fashion/lower-priced clothing brands such as H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Zara. The main colorway of these outfits are two-colored, with black as the dominant color and a primary color as the accent. Supreme is often one’s first foray into fashion so their styling intuition and persona is limited. This leads to people wearing ‘uniforms’–outfits that consist of widely recommended clothing pieces. One of the most popular uniforms is the Adidas shoes, jogger pants, and hoodie. Now go on social media and it kinda seems like you’ve seen the same person once, twice… or maybe hundreds of times over.
We can now draw a conclusion: the average Supreme buyer is young, doesn’t have much money, and wants to fit into a group to impress others. Supreme is an easy medium to reach these goals because of its low barrier to entry and strong connotations.
Supreme really is more than just a brand. Its influence on society is profound and continues to shape how we perceive clothing, how the fashion industry operates, and how people identify themselves. As with anything that becomes popular comes backlash and Supreme wearers bear much of it. What do you think of people who wear Supreme?