On Aug. 19, Supreme posted a lookbook photo from its newly-released Fall/Winter 2022 collection. The focal point was a colorful leather jacket designed to look like a photo of a Supreme billboard placed at 124 Ridge St. in New York City back in 2006. It was wearable art. The photo wasn’t accompanied with a tag and the caption didn’t note the collaborator, but amid the sea of fire emojis in the comments, some fans already knew who made it. This was designed by Jeff Hamilton.
“The biggest compliment is when someone sees a jacket out there and says, ‘That’s a Jeff Hamilton,’” Hamilton tells Complex over the phone. “For me, that’s really an achievement, knowing that people know my labor of love and the passion that I put into everything that I create.”
Since 1986, Hamilton has been designing his one-of-a-kind leather jackets that have become a status symbol in hip-hop culture and beyond. You may have seen them worn by artists like Cam’ron and ASAP Rocky. Some of his most well-known creations were for the NBA, like the intricate leather jackets worn by legends like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant after capturing championships in the late ’90s and 2000s. More recently, he was tapped by the NBA once again to create jackets for the NBA 75th anniversary team, the same way he made them for the NBA 50th anniversary team in 1997. He’s also deepened his roots in the music world working with some of this generation’s biggest names like Drake’s OVO, The Weeknd, and J Balvin. Despite all of his new endeavors, Hamilton says that the back-to-back jacket he created for Kobe and the Lakers 19 years ago is the jacket that people ask about the most.
“People still want that jacket. It’s not something that you wear for fashion. I often repeat the same thing, but you don’t buy a Rolex because you want to know what time it is. You buy it, because you want to make a statement,” says Hamilton. “It’s a milestone that you want to have. I think people want that jacket, because it represents so much and captures a moment in time.”
Hamilton’s official collab with Supreme comes five years after the brand released a project with Nike that many people feel was directly inspired by his all-over NBA logo jackets. Although he was not officially involved or told of the project during its creation, he calls the moment bittersweet. He’s just happy he was eventually called to work on something official for the brand.
“Out of the blue, I just got a call from them and in my mind, it was like the old Newman comment from Seinfeld: ‘What took you so long?’ [Laughs.] I was very excited,” Hamilton tells Complex. “The idea was always about making an impact in the culture. It’s an important part of my legacy. Supreme is the holy grail of streetwear.”
Extremely limited quantities of the jacket will reportedly be released this Thursday. Hamilton says that only 43 jackets were created. Each will come with a special carrying bag and an art print showcasing the details of the jacket that has been signed and stamped by him. Rumors circulating suggest a $15,000 retail price, but that has yet to be confirmed.
We got a chance to speak with Hamilton about his latest collaboration, the creation that people still ask him about the most, and whom he would love to work with next.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.