Today, the lineup outside Supreme's Lafayette Street store is as much a part of New York as, say, Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. But while the hypebeasts and reselling heathens go at it, there's actually a secret to skipping the line entirely.
In the second and third episodes of Complex's docuseries, Sold Out: The Underground Economy of Supreme Resellers, the resellers we interviewed told us about the difficulties they've faced while camping outside the brick-and-mortar shop and just how competitive and cutthroat this business is. "The First 50 people [in the line-up] are going to be people who have been doing this for a while," said a reseller known as Shoepreme_NY on Instagram (he declined to give his real name). "No regular person who's just lining up to get one T-shirt is going to be among the first 50 people."
What's interesting, though, are the larger, unspoken arrangements that effectively renders the elementary politics of lining up completely irrelevant. There are a handful of low-key ways to actually dodge the physical act of waiting in line outside of the Supreme store.
The resellers we spoke to told us that security guards who patrol the crowd on release days aren't above taking bribes. "I think the security guards do a decent job, but I think that in some ways they're corrupt," said a reseller known as Sole_Reserve on Instagram (he also declined to give his name). According to him, it's common for security to manipulate the names on the list of who's actually in line, especially after receiving a bribe. There's no clear process on how that actually works, but as one Supreme shopper noted, "They're all taking bribes...[people can cut the line] if you have a hundred bucks; you're first!"
Other than bribes, resellers also told us that there's a—wait for it—V.I.P. list. Essentially, if you're on the V.I.P. list, which is curated entirely by the security guards outside Supreme, you can hypothetically enter the store without having to camp out, skipping those who have been waiting for hours.
Regardless, resellers like Shoepreme_NY insist that no matter where you are in line, you need to make yourself known if you want to actually make it into the store. "You have to yell, you have make sure [the security guard] sees you or else if you're not aggressive, if you don't make yourself heard, you'll just stay in the same spot and not move. Before you know it, [the product] will be gone," he explained.