During its 25-year lifespan, Supreme has grown from a very local New York institution to a world-renowned lifestyle brand with a cult following.
Basically, the company has stayed true to its roots, creating products for the ‘youth counterculture’, especially the skateboarding and hip-hop communities. But between its marketing strategy (or lack of it) and ultra-exclusive partnerships, Supreme has nonetheless become a highly coveted and profitable brand. In fact, it’s easy to see Supreme’s partnerships as the link to its hyper-relevance launch.
Over the years the brand has ditched the lines with legacy brands like Nike and Louis Vuitton as well as more “underground” entities such as BAPE. And if you want to get your hands on something from one of these collections, you can either drop by $ 9,000 for hand luggage or $ 50 for a “gift box” of Supreme brand matches, a shower cap and a key ring.
The influence and value of the Supreme brand is undeniable – and True religion is the last brand to have managed to concede. The two companies collaborated on a Fall 2021 collection that launched online and in-store in two key markets: the United States (September 30) and Japan (October 2). The range was limited – it consisted of a denim trucker jacket, hoodie, denim cargo pants, beanie and six-panel hat – and even without a marketing strategy. support, it quickly sold in both markets. In fact, the items sold out online quickly 10 minutes.
In a statement, True Religion CEO Michael Buckley noted that a Supreme collaboration is “the ultimate testament to the cultural relevance of any brand.” Harnessing Supreme’s street credit is especially valuable to True Religion, which is in the process of reinventing its own business. Retail Contact Points (RTP) sat down with True Religion Creative Director Zihaad Wells to dig into the partnership and how it relates to brand leadership going forward. The biggest takeaway? “We are always looking for new collaborations. Definitely make sure you check out this space.
RTP: We see collaboration becoming a viable way for brands to reach new audiences or reconnect with their fans. What goals motivate True Religion’s approach to collaboration?
Zihaad Well: Our Supreme collaboration is undoubtedly a representation of our authority in denim in the early years, but now more than ever we are focused on what the future of our brand means and how we connect with young people. generations.
We can say with confidence that we have distinguished ourselves as innovators in designer denim, but to maintain that reputation we increasingly find that we need the support of youth culture, which is true for most brands today. This is why our new marketing strategies are oriented towards collaborations with younger and more promising creatives. We want to be able to grow with and for the Gen Z customer, which allows us to see the world differently, perhaps as we once did in the early 2000s.
RTP: What has worked well for True Religion in the past?
Well: We’ve done a few collaborations lately and have more in the works. Collectively, they give us all the freedom to work with brilliant creatives who are loyal to the brand – people who already love and respect what we do, but who have the means to make what we do feel right at home. new young and fresh.
Our partnerships with New York designer Madeline Kraemer and London designer Jaffa Saba have introduced us to the world of upcycling and reuse, which is so important for young consumers. Tapping into the minds of Atlanta artist Elijah Popo and Los Angeles artist Blu Boy positions us positively at the forefront of trends, allowing us to think beyond the returning trends obsessed with fashion. longing – although we can appreciate being on both sides of this.
Ultimately, we recognize that our story is infinitely rooted in the early 2000s, a time when streetwear and hip-hop culture ruled the fashion landscape, which is why partnering with someone like the Sacramento-based hip-hop choreographer and dancer Kida The Great is making all the difference in the way we see collaborations today. His ability to be true to himself and his style is what he does best, and his partnership has allowed us to do what we do best: create collections that echo authenticity and highlight light the future creators of taste.
RTP: What prompted your team to decide Supreme was the next viable partner for your branding strategy? How did the teams work together to develop the elements of the line?
Well: Supreme came to us because they want to work with brands and people who are both original and unique in what they do, and who offer a clear point of view marked by a defining look. For us, there is nothing more original, or defining, than our denim designed with this ubiquitous super-t stitch and the classic horseshoe logo. Very few brands have defined the 2000s era in the same way as True Religion and Supreme, and this collaboration is what we think is a modern iteration of what could have been – a rotation of the current resurgence of the year 2000 in our favor. With Supreme’s esoteric knowledge of youth culture, this collaboration was really obvious to us and we are delighted to see such a positive response.
RTP: Supreme has acquired a cult following, in large part thanks to its “no-marketing” marketing approach. Did this strategy ultimately benefit true religion?
Well: He absolutely did. Supreme has established what I’m sure most would agree are the unspoken rules of the drop culture, and part of that is taking a “no marketing” approach to marketing. While you may appreciate the effort put into creating the hype, there is something to be said about surprising consumers and bringing in influential game changers like Tyshawn Jones, who have sartorial credibility, to tease. a collection. Sometimes the best marketing strategy means no strategy and letting the collection speak for itself. Even though our customers couldn’t buy the collection with us, people see True Religion and talk about us, and that’s something cool and special.
RTP: In summary, how does this strategy and partnership represent the reinvention of true religion? What principles do you follow when making future decisions?
Well: Our partnerships are mutually beneficial: young creatives teach us to speak the language of a young generation and we can share their platforms on a larger scale. Ultimately, the rules of fashion are set by a young generation of designers and consumers, and we want to uphold those rules while maintaining our reputation as a culturally credible designer denim brand.