19 Nov

How Ethical Is Supreme?

April 1994, a new store opens its doors on Lafayette Street, downtown Manhattan: Supreme is born. Over 24 years, Supreme has grown to embody downtown culture. Working with generations of artists from various backgrounds, Supreme has established itself as an institution, known for its quality, style, and authenticity.

Despite its global influence, Supreme remains very exclusive, with only 10 stores worldwide, 6 of which are in Japan. Thanks to its numerous collaborations, with brands such as Nike, the North Face, Comme des Garcons as well as artists like Richard Prince, John Baldessari, and Jeff Koons, the brand gathers thousands of devoted fans. They patiently queue in front of Supreme stores in order to get their hands on the coveted products during the brand’s weekly “drops”.  The label also has a large online following, boasting an impressive community of users that discuss, buy, and resell Supreme product on SupTalk, a popular Facebook page for Europe’s Supreme fans, which has over 60,000 members.

The brand does have a clear influence and play a crucial role in the constant regeneration of streetwear culture, but how does it impact the Planet, People and Animals? How ethical is Supreme?

Not at all unfortunately. Supreme does not provide sufficient information about reducing its impact, which is why it rates ‘Very Poor’ on Environmental Impact, Labour Conditions and Animal Welfare.

Overall Rating: We Avoid

Rated: We Avoid

As consumers, we have the right to know how the products we buy (and queue for hours to get) affect the issues we care about. Because Supreme is very opaque, we gave the brand the overall rating ‘We Avoid’.

To have a better rating, Supreme could start disclosing more information about how, where and by whom its items are produced, as well as the materials used.

Transparency is crucial to ethical and sustainable fashion and is the first step towards reducing a business’ impact on the People, Planet and animals.

If you’re a streetwear fan, fear not, we have found some ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ alternatives to Supreme so you can look cool while doing good. Bonus point: you won’t even have to queue for hours to get them!

Editor's note: Feature photo by Supreme. All other images via brands mentioned.

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