I feel like A.P.C. Collaborations came early on, with artists making work for skateboard decks, as well as for T-shirts and other clothing. JJ: Yeah, but we did good in that environment . When Stüssy left the business, Jebbia opened up Supreme in 1994 in a small storefront on Lafayette Street in downtown New York. Next, Jebbia helped run a shop with Stüssy until Stüssy decided to retire. . They’re very smart. Then Jeff Koons saw the deck that Larry did and liked it, and he did some decks for us, which was really cool. When Stüssy left the business, Jebbia opened up Supreme in 1994 in a small storefront on Lafayette Street in downtown New York. I know there are other Supreme shops in other countries, but after a while, people know what the real thing is. I’d never skated myself, but I loved the graphics—I really liked the rebelliousness of it. I don’t wish for anybody to go out of business, but I think there are far too many things in New York that really shouldn’t be here. By Glenn O'Brien Photography Devon Jarvis. “We’re just trying to show people things that we do—no different from what a magazine did 20 years ago.” (They published six issues of their own magazine before developing their website around 2006.). We’ve never really been supply-demand anyway. . They’d wear a hat or whatever, but they wouldn’t wear the clothing,because it would fit badly and was bad quality, and skaters want to look good and pick up girls. JAMES JEBBIA: Our business is really good. I see them on eBay or whatever. Nothing about Supreme was planned in advance, its success a coincidence of place, time, and hard work. JJ: I agree. I feel like kids in New York appreciated that, and after a while we got a bit of a following in Japan and in Europe, and we’ve just kind of done it the same ever since. There’s nothing else quite like that going on.”, GO: Japanese connoisseurship is so interesting. We didn’t dumb it down—we only made things that we really liked. And since we started back then, I think it’s fine for us to always look to that era and get a lot of influence from it. [7], Apart from clothing, Jebbia's has also released Supreme calendars, 24-inch cruiser bikes and a Supreme book, published by Rizzoli in 2010. The latest fashion news, beauty coverage, celebrity style, fashion week updates, culture reviews, and videos on Vogue.com. Then we started doing more around maybe 2000 or something. “The shop that carries the cool stuff that everybody was wearing—no big brands or anything.”. It’s not nostalgic—it’s more like it’s a part of us. So it’s not like in these difficult times we’re going to suddenly pull up our socks—we’ve always been busting our asses every single day to try to get it right. So I thought, Shit, I’d better be doing something else, too, because I don’t want to count on this. [4], In 1989, he opened his first retail venture, Union NYC, carrying an experimental mix of mostly English brands. “I’ve seen brands get comfortable,” he says, “but I’ve never felt comfortable. They keep an eye on what’s going on in fashion, but it’s always rooted in a ’60s kind of French style. Interview Magazine: The Crystal Ball of Pop. Pop art was supposed to change the world, and then it got sort of co-opted by the market. “Gucci is saying, ‘Hey—just because you’re young doesn’t mean you won’t love this $800 sweatshirt,’” he says. . But I guess I kind of direct things.” He likes to stay out of categories, to be free of market demands. But I think what really got attention was when we did those Larry Clark decks. Then their customers arrived wearing Carhartt matched with Vuitton, Gucci with Levi’s. But I just look at it like that’s what kids do nowadays. “The hat factory we use can only make so many hats.” Jebbia is also wary of anything that will raise his overhead or put his ability to take risks at risk. And because we didn’t have to worry about appeasing a 14-year-old kid in a mall, we spent a lot of time trying to make the right stuff. It was very much like, “This is the money I want and I’ll do it.” He was very much like that. From 1991 to 1994, he teamed up with Shawn Stussy, founder of Stüssy. It’s more like we’re just trying to make stuff for that real pain-in-the-ass, picky New York kid. GO: Interview is kind of like that. I just was like, “Hey, that’s a cool name for a store.” But it’s become a problem since it’s become a brand because we don’t own the name. And we don’t number these things, but they are of a limited run. He didn’t drive us nuts. You get a lot of young people who will come and line up and sleep out overnight to buy something, and then they put it on eBay. “My wife keeps saying I should just call myself founder, but I don’t know,” he says. James Jebbia was born in the United States. They think, Well, it’s skate, so it’s got to be, like, big baggy pants, cap backwards, big chain . JJ: He was actually one of the easiest people to work with. “I love that Alex Katz lives up there,” he says. The painter Lucien Smith credits Supreme’s intimacy. Elsesser is the kind of person marketers think of as an influential outsider but whom customers see as just a cool skater. We got both audiences into them. It’s like, “Look, it’s 68 fuckin’ dollars. These days, it’s a lot more difficult to do that. (Reuters) – VF Corp said on Monday it would pay $2.1 billion to buy streetwear apparel company Supreme, adding another popular brand to the Vans shoe maker’s roster. Fifteen years later, Supreme is at the pinnacle of populist youth fashion. I had the Stüssy store right here on Prince Street, but Sean Stüssy, the designer, didn’t know whether he was going to do it for that long. .”, He pointed up. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t look enough like shit!”. Supreme launched in 1994, when designer James Jebbia opened an unassuming skateboard shop-slash-clothing store on Lafayette Street in … GO: When did you start doing your own skateboard decks? So when I do see a line in front of the store, I’m like, “Cool. Maybe once a year we’d do something—no big deal. And I think that the kids in Japan could see that and say, “Okay, yeah, that’s legit. . It was like, “Hey, if we do five grand a week, then great!” We didn’t really do any business at first, but we did okay. GLENN O’BRIEN IS INTERVIEW’S EDITORIAL DIRECTOR. His office a few blocks west of the Supreme store is adorned with a skateboard designed by Raymond Pettibon; some drawings by Jebbia’s kids, age 8 and 10; and a larger-than-life-size portrait of James Brown—whom Jebbia, crucially, sees as not just the hardest-working man in showbiz but as a guy who never played down to his audience. When he was one year old, his parents relocated to Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom. But all of the clothing that the skate companies put out was crap. But while it’s important for us to work with these big artists, it’s just as important to us to work with people who nobody knows. [8], Jebbia is married to Bianca Jebbia and has two children. It was more like—, JJ: Yeah. But if we can sell 600, I make 400. I’m dying to go back. Among his earliest designs was a cut-and-sew pair of tiger-stripe cargo pants. “James tapped into a secret sauce,” Korine continues, “and they’ve kept strong because youth propels the culture, and they are always on the side of the youth. If we really wanted to do that, we’d be selling these for a thousand dollars. Now, they don’t need any more product out there, but if it’s something that’s legitimate, then I think they’re very keen to embrace it. “They’re very below the radar,” he says, “but they are very pure in what they do—I hold them in as much esteem as I do Chanel or Vuitton.”, I think a lot of brands reach a point where they say, We kind of have a formula—we’ve got it made,” he says. Supreme keeps advertising to a minimum and works with people like Sage Elsesser, the pro skater, who models for its look-book. Out on the street, he offered a tour through his own history. Buy it and like it and get the fuck out.” So it’s funny how some of the people who come in just don’t understand. I really liked all of the hard goods—the decks, the wheels, the trucks. I had him do these pieces in the store. He thinks of Supreme more as a space. These Japanese collectors know what they’re buying, though, from denim to records to stereo equipment . Supreme’s founder James Jebbia was in on the first wave of skater fashion, partnering with Sean Stüssy. © 2020 Condé Nast. Production: Patrick Van Maanen for Moxie Productions. . But when we do a pair of sneakers, they’re never that limited—for us, at least. We know we could sell these things for more, but we want young people to be able to buy them. Since then, that’s really been our approach. . He currently resides in Lower Manhattan's West Village in New York City. Because you never know. James Jebbia (born July 22, 1963) is an American-British businessman and fashion designer. GO: I have some friends who collect sneakers, and they just keep them in the box. . Do people actually wear them? I don’t think enough people take risks, and when you do, people respond—in music, in art, in fashion.”, As we walk, Jebbia is greeted by people from the neighborhood, and when at last we sit he seems to almost relax for a minute talking about his weekends—which are, he stresses, decidedly unglamorous. GO: But that happens with the shoes, too, when the kids are lined up around the block . I’m never like, “Yeah, these are sold out.” I’m always nervous. . I used to think more of it. GO: That was during an economic downturn, right? “Our formula is there’s no formula.” He mentions his wife, Bianca, who grew up in Elm­hurst, Queens, in a Chilean family and raises their children at their apartment in Lower Manhattan. Jeff was as easy to work with as anybody that we’ve worked with—he was just as into it. We still don’t. We always try to make things as good as we can, but I never count on that. JJ: Supreme wasn’t meant to be a brand. “People can talk shit about the neighborhood, but I really think it’s one of the most vibrant places in the world.”, Jebbia doesn’t have a title. to music, to art, to many things, and that allowed us to make things with an open mind.”. He is known for being the founder of the skateboarding shop and clothing brand Supreme New York. Rent was two grand. Supreme’s founder James Jebbia was in on the first wave of skater fashion, partnering with Sean Stüssy. “He’s creating exciting products for right now—today,” Jebbia says. “I have never met anyone with such a strong, single-minded vision who has always stayed close to his sense of values,” says Adrian Joffe, president of Comme des Garçons and Rei Kawakubo’s husband. Ideally, we have it and it’s gone in two weeks and then it’s done. JJ: I think people do both. It’s got a renegade eye, outlaw good taste, and a sort of cult following that lives on the razor’s edge of fashion, art, and sport. Hair: Tamara McNaughton; Makeup: Romy Soleimani. Last night, I was lying in bed with my wife, watching the football game. But you also have a great logo, so that probably makes it easier in a way. JJ: We started doing decks probably around 1997, but more the logo kinds of ones. I think it’s a time for new values. That’s why we never, ever classify our stuff as limited. All rights reserved. JJ: Yeah. “Now what the hell am I going to do?” he recalls asking himself. “And it’s not ‘Look at me dumbing this stuff down.’ She’s just wearing what she likes, and I think that people are more like that now.”.