It was the email that spawned a thousand—or at least more than a few—faux-Supreme T-Shirts.
Last week, 68-year-old artist Barbara Kruger turned the streetwear industry on its collective head when she called out both Supreme founder James Jebbia and the person he's suing for trademark infringement, Married to the Mob's Leah McSweeney.
Kruger responded to a request for quote on the lawsuit in an email attachment to Complex, in which she slammed both parties as "a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers," completely and utterly sonning two brands that have used her work for inspiration (and of course, some monetary success along the way). She's not wrong: Kruger's work has been cited by both Jebbia and McSweeney as direct inspirations for what they've done, and even got mentioned in McSweeney's response to Supreme's lawsuit.
The bigger you get, so does your contingent of haters, and plenty of people in the streetwear world have championed Kruger's fell-keystrokes as an authoritative stamp that the court case was a total sham. Of course, in true streetwear fashion, aspiring designers and even an established graffiti artist took no time in sounding off on this fiasco via their own T-shirts. Most notably, graffiti artist Kidult gave away free "Suepreme" T-shirts, while others flocked to Tumblr to post quick, Photoshopped tee and hats that contained text from Kruger's email. We've spotted a handful of shirts that parody the incident—some great, some mediocre—to show the Internet's inevitable reaction to a blurred line of copyright infringement.
Of course, the pieces created are (to be kind) very similar to the ones the lawsuit questions. And even more: Do the people making these T-Shirts not get that when Kruger explained that she makes her work "about this kind of sadly foolish farce," she was talking about them, too?
Probably not. Lacking a sense of self-awareness hasn't stopped too many people from printing absurd T-Shirts before, and has stopped even less people from wearing them. Our only question: Is it gonna stop you from wearing one, be it the real Supreme deal, or a fake take on the brand?
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