How Ethical Is Supreme?

By November 19, 2018Fashion

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.

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’ GoY-Ratings_1.

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!

Ethical Alternatives

G-Star Raw GoY-Ratings_4

Lyl Slim T-Shirt | | Ships internationally

We know, logos are trending at the moment, so how about wearing one that shows you care about the planet? G-Star Raw has been setting some good worker empowerment initiatives in its supply chain in the past few years. It’s a member of the Better Cotton Initiative and it has a Code of Conduct that covers all of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedoms principles!

Nudie Jeans GoY-Ratings_4

Lars Swedish Parka | | Ships internationally

Nudie Jeans designs 100% organic cotton denim and is transparent about its production. The brand also offers a free repair service, resells second hand products as well as recycles worn out items! This parka is perfect to achieve that streetwear look and do good!

Outerknown GoY-Ratings_4

Sur Snap Hoodie | | Ships internationally

Founded by surf champion Kelly Slater, Outerknown is a sustainable brand that aims to blend style and function with the protection of natural resources. The brand is Bluesign certified and has partnered with the Fair Labour Association. Although Outerknown only designs menswear, really anyone could sport that hoodie for an oversized streetwear look.

Finisterre GoY-Ratings_4

Christopher Raeburn x Finisterre Tee | | Ships internationally

Collaborating with Christopher Raeburn, Finisterre designed this 100% organic cotton tee depicts the point of entering the water, taken from a series of helicopter winchman instructional graphics created specially for the collaboration.

Feature image by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash. Photos by David Lezcano on Unsplash and by João Silas on Unsplash. All other images via brands mentioned.

Solene Rauturier

Author Solene Rauturier

Originally from France, Solene is currently Content and Community intern at Good on You.

More posts by Solene Rauturier

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