What is one of the most recognizable logos in fashion just became the biggest tabloid in New York City. Hot off the press, Supreme shocked commuters this morning as they walked passed their local bodega to find the newsstand covered in a blanket of red box logos. After rumors circulated over the weekend, an unexpected collaboration between Supreme and the New York Post has officially come true. On Monday, the news publication dropped its latest paper with a Supreme front page advertisement.
The collaboration itself is impressive, but the cover’s minimal design is a cultural moment all on its own. The special promotion cover features the paper’s signature letterhead, but forgoes the extra large and bold eye-catching headlines and photos of the most trending news, and is sidelined a for a solo red Supreme box logo on white background. That’s it.
The streetwear brand released a video early Monday morning video unveiling the partnership, which ultimately led to fans searching around the city at the crack of dawn to buy a newspaper. In 2018, that’s unheard of. Yesterday’s unveil was a spectacle to be hold, and already one of our favorite collabs of the year for its sheer brilliance. Here’s why.
New York Post on newsstands now. @nypost
According to Yahoo! Finance, the New York Post is the fourth largest newspaper in America with a circulation of 424,721. While it’s unclear how many of those subscribers are print vs digital, anyone that’s been to New York knows how ubiquitous the fabled tabloid is.
Available in practically every newsstand and bodega in the city, Supreme couldn’t have chosen a better New York-based legacy media to work with. The New York Times might seem like a more obvious and prestigious fit, but it’s unclear if the publication would ever go for a collaboration of that caliber and the NYT wouldn’t necessarily fit the brand’s values in the first place, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Supreme for its part complemented the collaboration with a digital rollout of the full FW18 lookbook and collection preview, sending Reddit, Twitter, and blog comment sections into a frenzy of hype. Together, the one-two punch of the daily print circulation (plus the earned media that comes from rabid fans sharing the issue on social media) and the digital offerings from Supreme direct make for the kind of media attention most brands can only dream of.
Supreme didn’t just win the newsstand or the blogosphere this week, they won both. They simultaneously broke New York City digitally and physically, and that couldn’t have happened without the New York Post.
In a nutshell, Supreme is the king of the resell market, and the aftermath of the paper rollout proves it. By noon, most news stands in the city were sold out of the issue. By 12:30, the promo item were already reselling online. What started with an initial cost of $1.50, resellers were asking up to 10 times more. On eBay, the most popular copies were sold for less than $10, however, others were selling for much larger amounts including $20, $50, and even $85.
Of course, copies also flooded to Grailed, mostly priced between $7 and $15. Someone’s even selling 20 copies for $150. It shows that the demand for the box logo hasn’t lost its step.
All of this just proves what Highsnobiety staff writer Jonathan Sawyer was quoted as saying in the New York Times, that all the brand needs to do is “Slap a Supreme logo on it, and it will fly off the shelves, literally no matter what it is.” It’s the ultimate flex and something Supreme doesn’t need to be vocal about for it to be obvious.
Perhaps the most subtle implication of this collaboration is that it shines a light on how Supreme thinks of itself and how it takes those thoughts and presents them to the world. Every single day of the week commuting New Yorkers are confronted with the latest celebrity gossip, absurd crimes, and disgraced politicians smack dab on the front page of the latest New York Post. Simply put, it’s no accident that Supreme joins these ranks with this simple yet effective cover.
With controversial product releases and divisive campaigns practically part of its mission statement, Supreme has earned its place as an indelible part of New York culture, one worthy of praise, blame, ridicule and fandom just like any run-of-the-mill New York Post cover.
It also raises the age-old question that has plagued Supreme from the start, but especially since the brand’s $1 billion valuation just under a year ago: is the brand a high-concept fashion-meets-art-meets-skating project that its most loyal fans claim it is? Or is it simply a cynical albeit brilliant marketing play on Supreme’s part that speaks to James Jebbia’s prescient knowledge of the current and future media landscape?
To answer this question or at least approach something like an answer, it’s worth drawing comparisons with another headline-stealing figure who did something eerily similar this year: Kanye West.
The recently gifted Pornhub premium subscriber made headlines months ago after turning to none other than TMZ as his platform to “inadvertently” promote his upcoming album Ye and rant about Donald Trump, the MAGA hat, and slavery. Many automatically discounted the seriousness of West’s thoughts on these subjects because of the outlet’s reputation, while others considered the move brilliant for its blurring of celebrity culture and for its skirting of traditional mainstream media. The decision to go straight to TMZ to vent seemed to be the culmination of everything Kanye and perhaps even more so, his wife’s family, the Kardashians, pioneered over the course of the last decade.
This dominance of the media largely reflects what Kanye famously rapped on 2005’s “Bring Me Down”: “Everybody feel a way about K but at least y’all feel something.”
The same can now be said about Supreme and while there won’t ever be a consensus on what the brand is actually all about and stands for (unless Jebbia for whatever reason comes out with it), we at least now have an idea of how Supreme views itself and how it amplifies its myth through unexpected collaborations with the like of divisive tabloid media.
Last but not least, the collaboration gives everyone (in the Big Apple at least) the chance to finally own a Supreme product. In comparison to this week’s run, last year’s MetroCard activation almost seems like a playful experiment. While that collaborative product was only available at a few subway stations across the city, this week’s New York Post issue could be picked up at nearly every newsstand and bodega in the city – provided you were quick enough.
This time around though the collab was even more affordable and ubiquitous, ensuring that everyone that wanted to get their hands on one could get their hands on one and with a collaboration of this size, it begs the question: What New York staple will get the red box logo treatment next time? “I love NY” mugs? Food carts? Taxi cabs? Why stop at NY? What about sending Supreme to space or the deepest parts of the ocean?
Regardless of where the red box logo ends up, one thing is clearer than ever: just when it seems has Supreme has done all it can to get its name out and challenge wide-spread perceptions of it, it does what no one expects and keeps fans, new and old, guessing what’s to come.
At this point it’s impossible to deny Supreme’s influence on pop culture and if the brand keeps outdoing itself and blurring the lines between art, skating, fashion, mass market and media, there’s no telling where it will end up. Whether or not you managed to cop the collaborative issue, it’s impossible to deny the brilliance of the partnership both for its conceptual basis and for its real-life effectiveness. There’s no telling what other brands will do in 2018 but it’s hard to count on anyone, even Supreme itself, topping the brand’s entry into FW18.