Beauty and the HypeBeast

In a tale as old as time, queues trail through the kingdom as hundreds upon hundreds wait in line for the latest box logo collab. Amass the crowds are the hardened veterans of the weekly drop, the plugs, the new faces on the block and even the casual fans out for the occasion. Because this time it’s big, bigger than normal, this time around the famous white on red is sprinkled with the unmissable 3 shape and 2 lettered pattern that is Louis Vuitton. This is the story of the once local skate brand who gained a cult following and ended up on the catwalk.

Created from humble beginnings by James Jebbia back in 1994 Manhattan, Supreme catered to the older skaters of New York who wanted to stray from the typical suburban brands of the ’90s skate scene. Producing short runs of each line so as to never be left with unwanted stock, Supreme gained traction as a highly sought-after brand and started to collaborate with more well-known names such as Vans, Nike and Stone Island. As time went on they grew themselves a considerable customer base from not just skaters but became regularly repped amongst rappers, celebrities and the rest of its fans. In this the cult following started as they created the perfect business model, items worn vividly by idols and a devotedly loyal fanbase combined with such small production runs that people began to queue for hours or even days just to get a single thing from one of their drops. This isn’t uncommon with the industry with other big names, like Bape (A Bathing Ape), Jumpman/Air Jordans and most recently Kanye’s own Yeezy Lines, being familiar with line waiters but none do it quite like them and while Supreme is a the household name for skaters, hip-hop fans and anyone who follows streetwear they really changed the game when their latest collab was announced back in January. Louis Vuitton has always been a high-class name, known primarily for its luxury bags and accessories which also carry a high-end price tag. So for them to choose to work with a brand like Supreme is kind of a big deal, I mean never did I ever imagine I would see the unmistakable LV pattern on a varsity jacket let alone a skateboard deck or baseball bat! There’s really only 2 ways to look at this, either LV are trying to stay on trend and work into the hungry, hungry market that is low volume production streetwear, or street garms have finally found a solid footing on the catwalk and in the fashion world.

I like to lean towards the latter as I see it as the beginning of a new era with so much potential. But it’s more than that, it’s the freedom for your outfit to be so unique and different yet still have taste and fit the mould, that is the beauty of it.

Style is such an incredible form of design because it is self-design. Styling yourself takes no formal training, no set location, no tools, just a keen eye and a sense of expression. Yes, you can learn from others and take advice and even bite something off someone else if you really want, but either way, it’s still you doing you. I’m not talking about walking around in bright yellow wellies, a mankini and a straw hat, it’s not about being extreme or weird but about pushing the boundaries just enough. There have been so many times that I’ve seen something pre-release and thought how awful it is then as time goes on the more I look at it and think how it could work with other things and look at in a new light I begin to see a whole new side to the design and it really reaches out to my creative side.

Now I’m well aware that this isn’t the first move of this sort, Adidas have just released a line in collaboration with Alexander Wang and while that too combines designer with street, to me it’s not the same. Don’t get me wrong some of the stuff to drop is gorgeous but really it’s just too similar to what’s been done before. Adidas has done a ton of really nice designs and collabs of which this is just another. But those bold red and white patterns that shouldn’t mix but sit so well, that really hammers it home. To me that is iconic. At no surprise, there will be some downsides to such a big collab from such different brands, each of which, to me, brings to the table one big issue. LV carries a designer price tag to the likes of which even hardcore ‘preme fans will wince at and Supreme will no doubt stick to short supply meaning that the drop will be small and only for those with no monetary concerns or the odd few willing to sleep in a tent for the next year just to cop the latest and greatest.

But this is the beginning of something beautiful, a Romeo and Juliet if you will, two names from very different backgrounds united to become something very special and pave the way forward. Okay, perhaps not quite so reminiscent of Shakespeare but a thing deserving of recognition of all the same.