Supreme: Fashion and Exclusivity

Why is Supreme so expensive?

With its much-anticipated uncovering at Paris Fashion Week, the FW collaboration of NYC street label Supreme and French luxury house Louis Vuitton has thoroughly enraptured souls of many. Deemed a new era in fashion history, the coalescence of the two discrete worlds of street and luxury has been said to represent an unexpected coming together of the looks of the uptown and downtown. Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor of Dazed Magazine, described the collaboration to be “At first, a kind of surprised disbelief…But the more [she] thought about it, the more it made sense.”

Despite the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection not due to release until July, a rumored jaw-dropping price list (shown below) for the collection items has surfaced online. A denim jacket adorned with the famous LV and Supreme stamps is expected to cost around $2,000 USD, and a leather trunk also embellished with the two labels is expected to retail for more than $68,500 USD.

Rumored Price List (PC: Nice Kicks)

For those loyal hypebeasts out there, the big-budget costs are conceived, for the prices for Supreme products have never been so friendly. However, many have expressed their dismay—how can a street brand cost a fortune?

With its founding year traced back to 1994, Supreme has established itself as a stalwart street brand garnering much notice among the fashion industry. Ever since, the label has proved its success, demonstrated through its frequent collaborations with renown brands such as Thom Browne, Vans, and Stone Island.

A reason for its steady success can be searched for in the surface—hype. Hype is the instant boost of publicity. Let’s say, Kanye West or Rihanna, idol of many, is spotted wearing a Supreme box logo tee. That’s surely cool and so is the T-shirt; that’s why such exposure encourages people to forage for the same item.

Charles Park (‘20), an avid follower of fashion labels at KIS had his say, attaching a widely different reason to its popularity, one conceivably many fellow hypebeasts would agree with:

“I like Supreme because of their general character as a brand. The unique attitude and voice that comes out with every season is what I’m attracted to. I think that the reason why Supreme is loved by so many and has stood the test the time in terms of trends, is that they’re not afraid to try something new. Many of their items appeal to different demographics, which is how I think Supreme was elevated from a small New York skateshop to a icon in streetwear and street culture. To put it simply, I like Supreme because as a brand, their political messages, their skate references, and their musical influences have been authentic and true to itself.”

Yet, the ultimate and the true key to success of Supreme, throughout its 23 years has been consistent—exclusivity. By making a limited amount of product for every release, Supreme plants exclusivity. Although the online shop selling out in minutes after a new release and resellers mass purchasing products, Supreme never fails to keep the supply low. The demand is yet more or less assumed. That brings us to buying director of concept store MACHINE-A, Stavros Karelis, who left a rather interesting yet questionable comment that the Supreme x LV collaboration, “from a retail and marketing point of view, I find it brilliant!”

It seems to be Supreme’s cerebral play of economics—supply and demand—that has fueled its sustained successes and has allowed it to stay high in budgets all throughout. The exclusivity and rareness, which people naturally seek to differentiate themselves, have led to its unfailing popularity and attention.

– Yoo Bin Shin (‘18)
Featured Image: Highsnobiety



China’s Economic Recession: Tragedy Hits Africa as a Result

Severe recession has hit the nation of China; and it’s resulting in a chain reaction of economic hardships in multiple other countries.

A nation’s economic growth can be measured by making use of its GDP (gross domestic product), which takes into account the country’s consumer spending, investment, government spending, and net export all in terms of dollar values. The country’s net export is what is most influenced by other countries and their economic well being, as it takes into account both import and export statuses. Take, for example, the two nations of Nigeria and South Africa. South Africa had relied heavily on China to purchase their iron ore, as South Africa is China’s biggest exporter of iron ore. However, this over-reliance on China’s purchase of their commodity has indeed, backfired, as China’s demand for iron ore has plummeted over the years. As stated by China’s capital city, Beijing, “imports from the continent [of Africa] had fallen almost 40% in 2015”. On the other hand, Nigeria’s economy has also plummeted overtime, as the country’s staple export, oil, has not been selling well. Both issues share a core element, in which neither of them are due to the nation of Africa itself. Nevertheless, Africa and its economy has still been affected – negatively, in fact – and there seems to be no end to this downfall at the moment.

The most hard hitting issue in regards to South Africa, per say, is the decline of South Africa’s currency: rand. South Africa’s currency has descended to record lows, and this decline has indeed, correlated with China’s decline in demand of commodities. The decline in demand of commodities has only lead to a “worldwide fall in prices of raw materials,” because they could not sell the resources had they not made the prices cheaper, hence the decline in currency. Additionally, according to New York Times author Norimitsu Onishi, South Africa is currently experiencing “the worst drought in a generation”. Due to this environmental hindrance, the country can neither produce nor export agricultural products they usually do, thus must import those products, such as corn. However, going back to the issue with the currency, the weak rand only makes it harder for them to import corn – or anything, for that matter.

“Copper mine in Africa. China’s economic slowdown leads to a decrease in commodity prices.” (New York Times)

Africa’s severe financial conditions does not stop here. The nation of Nigeria, Africa’s both biggest economy and oil producer, is also facing similar problems like those of South Africa. Profit that comes from selling oil accounts for 80% of Nigeria’s profit. However, due to a recent crash in crude prices, Nigeria’s economy has also tremendously weakened. Like South Africa, Nigeria is also experiencing collapse in their national currency, naira, because the nation’s central bank has restricted the sale of American dollars in order to protect its “shrinking foreign reserves”. Nigeria’s economy has grown by 3% in the year of 2015, after the nation’s expansion of 6.3%. But with the rather threatening status quo that Nigeria is facing, it seems as though they can no longer be satisfied with such a minor growth.

The two countries, as they are both developing ones, must prosper enough so that they no longer have to rely heavily on other nations for their economic success. As the two countries are both soon to hit recession, unemployment rates will likely soar, as well as other major issues to consider such as lack of resources. The continent of Africa as a whole is also currently under threat, as it must face “a slump in mining, as well as manufacturing and agriculture”. The key for them to once again, place their hands upon welfare and boom, is to advance enough so that they no longer require the help of other countries. However, this is easier said than to be done. No accurate predictions can be made as to how long Africa will be in a slump, with many economic downturns. For now, one can only hope for the recession they are to face this year to be not as severe as, say, the Great Depression that hit the United States of America less than a hundred years ago.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: New York Times