Can Supreme Grow And Keep Its Cool?

Will Supreme live on to become a heritage streetwear brand? Or will its acquisition by VF Corp. serve as a cautionary tale for other streetwear brands looking to grow?

A selection of rare Supreme "Box Logo" T-shirts owned by RIF LA. (Photo by Julian Berman)
A selection of rare Supreme "Box Logo" T-shirts owned by Rif LA. (Photo by Julian Berman)

Jeffrey Malabanan has collected so much Supreme within the last 15 years that pictures from his office in Los Angeles look like they were taken inside a storage unit. Plastic bins filled with the rarest Supreme garments are stacked from the floor to the ceiling. His collection includes everything from deadstock Supreme jackets from its first collaboration with The North Face in 2008 to reverse box logo hoodies made in collaboration with Comme des Garçons in 2013—many items still have its original price tag. Malabanan is the co-owner of Rif LA, a sneaker consignment store that he opened with his business partner Edward Mateo in 2006. They both grew up collecting Supreme but didn’t consider reselling it until their shop took a hit during the Great Recession in 2008.

“When we first started reselling Supreme, it was within a small corner of my shoe store. Two years later, I literally leased out another shop and filled it with only Supreme,” says Malabanan, whose Supreme-buying clients include Tyler, the Creator, ASAP Rocky, and Travis Scott. “ComplexCon Long Beach 2017. That weekend, we sold $140,000 in Supreme. It was mostly vintage Supreme, too.”

A selection of rare Supreme "Box Logo" T-shirts owned by RIF LA. (Photo by Julian Berman)
Jeff of RIF LA going through his inventory in his office.
Jeffrey Malabanan showcasing RIF LA's extensive collection of Supreme skateboard decks.

What Growing Pains Come With Becoming a Heritage Streetwear Brand?

Supreme on Sunset Boulevard
Rare Supreme Jackets at RIF LA
Supreme FW 14 American Flag Box Logos Photo by Julian Berman
Supreme North Face Jacket 2011
Supreme T Shirts Vintage

Does Supreme’s Cult Following Still Exist?

Supreme collector BK The God wearing Supreme x Rammellzee pieces from 2020 while holding a rare backpack handpainted by the late-NYC graffiti artist for a collaboration in 2004.
Christopher Chance with his Supreme collection.

Does Supreme Still Resonate With Skateboarders?

Ron Baker and Vlad Gomez, founders of the Bronx-born skateboard brand Public Housing Skate Team.

Will Supreme’s Legacy Live?

Supreme Collection
Supreme Panther Zip Up Hoodie Spring Summer 2021

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