This article originally appeared on VICE Italy.
After years of rumors and leaks, Italy’s first Supreme store finally opened in Milan on the 6th of May, 2021 at 11AM. It’s the franchise’s 13th store in the world and the third to open in Europe after London and Paris. Launched in 1994 in New York City, Supreme is now one of the most famous streetwear brands of all time.
The brand’s success is rooted in its exclusivity. Over the years, Supreme has built a niche of hardcore collectors and resellers who - as the name suggests - sell rare items and at premium prices on marketplace sites like Klekt and Depop. Critics say the brand has lost its edge and appeal, though it still commands a loyal following. At the moment, however, things seem to be going well, since the VF Corporation, one of the largest apparel and footwear companies in the world, just bought it for a cool €1.7 billion last year.
To make it into the Milan store on the opening day, people had to register in advance and hope for their ticket to be drawn by lottery. Those who were selected could only stay inside the store for 15 minutes and buy only one of each garment. The most coveted item on sale was a T-shirt especially created for the launch of the store, featuring an illustration of the Last Supper fresco by Leonardo da Vinci which is housed in a convent in Milan. The T-shirt sold for a relatively affordable €44 in store but was reportedly listed on the marketplace site StockX for over €400 before it sold out.
We went to the grand opening to speak to fans about why they went through so much effort to get their hands on the goods. Among the crowd of mostly guys, we also saw a few YouTubers and celebrities like Italian rapper Ghali and Inter Milan player Achraf Hakimi – plus, of course, the occasional apprehensive mum accompanying her son.
VICE: Hi, are you here for the store opening?
Chung: I found out about it at the last minute, a bit by chance, and I was unable to register for the draw. I hope to be able to get inside.
Are you a fan?
I like the brand’s oversized fit and that it represents skate culture. Most of all, I like that the pieces are so rare. I’ve been living in Milan for two years now, and I’ve opened a website in Korean where I resell high fashion items bought in Italy – like Prada, Fendi and Chanel.
No, I only buy Supreme clothes for myself, almost always online.
What is your rarest Supreme item?
The most expensive item I have is the jacket made in collaboration with Stone Island. I paid more than €1000 for it.
VICE: You were the first customer to enter the store. How long have you been waiting for this moment?
Andrea: Ever since I heard the first rumours in 2016. I usually visit a Supreme store at least once a year when there’s a drop that particularly interests me. I've been to Paris, London and Los Angeles. I missed the opening in San Francisco by a week, unfortunately.
How many Supreme items do you own?
Lots. All those I didn't buy in the stores I got from resellers. Unfortunately, I can hardly ever buy anything from the official website. I try to organize exchanges with other collectors to avoid spending too much money.
What did you buy in the store?
I got the iconic Last Supper tee, a denim suit, a polo shirt and a skateboard I will probably hang.
VICE: Hi Ginevra, what brings you here?
Ginevra: I've been following Supreme for a year and a half, my boyfriend got me into it. It's nice that they opened a shop in Milan. I feel lucky to have been able to enter on the first day.
So your boyfriend couldn’t come in?
No, he wasn’t selected, but I'm always quite lucky when it comes to raffles and competitions. After receiving the confirmation, I only had a short time to reply to their text. I had no internet or money on my phone, so I had to rush to top up my credit, but in the end I made it!
Why do you think there are so few girls here?
I think the streetwear world is mainly male. Some women are part of it, too but they are very few – even if trends are now changing a bit in that respect.
What have you bought?
I got some socks, the Milan box logo T-shirt and the denim jacket. We already have other items but we’re waiting for the launch of Supreme’s Pantone chair since we’re renovating our place. I study design and I would like to furnish our house in this style.
VICE: Hi, are you one of the lucky ones who got to enter the store?
Angelo: Well, I managed to register on the site for the draw but I wasn’t selected. I came anyway, just to have a look around.
Do you think that, compared to a few years ago, there is still the same hype about Supreme?
Like many other things, it has slightly lost its meaning as it became widely popular. The cool thing about it in the first place was that the brand was related to the New York skate scene. Then again, I'm not a skater, so I'd be a hypocrite to criticise this aspect of its popularity today.
Anyway, I think it's a shame that if you want to buy something and you plan to wear it, you have to compete with all of those who just want to resell the same item at a higher price. With all the bots used by resellers, it is really difficult to get these sorts of items at retail price. Even the North Face x Supreme sweatshirt I'm wearing now, for example, I had to buy it on Klekt, for about €40 more than the retail price.
Did you ask someone if they could buy the limited edition T-shirt for you?
Realistically, no one will go in and buy that T-shirt for me since you can only buy one [of each item]. However, if someone came out and wanted to sell it to me at a higher price, obviously, I would gladly take it. I think I'd put it directly in a display case.
VICE: You just left the store, how did it go?
Francesco: Better than I expected. It was all very well organized. I’ve seen videos of the queues at the shop in London and there were a lot more people crammed together there.
What did you buy?
Obviously I bought the box logo T-shirt, a pink box logo sweatshirt made in collaboration with the artist KAWS, a denim jacket, caps, socks and a board, which I could not miss. I don't actually skate, but I'll keep it for my collection.
Tell us about your passion for Supreme.
I've been following Supreme for two and a half years, during which time I have bought about 25 items, mostly T-shirts. My rarest piece is the COVID-19 box logo T-shirt. I usually shop online, but I couldn't miss the opening of the first store in Italy. I came all the way from Tuscany for this.
Have you ever resold Supreme pieces?
I’m not a reseller, but I do resell sometimes to buy the pieces I want.
VICE: Hi Federico, did you make it inside?
Federico: Unfortunately I was not selected, but I hope to go in soon. I'd like to buy a T-shirt and a sweatshirt to keep for myself, and maybe try to resell the Last Super box logo T-shirt In the meantime, I'm here to shoot some content for my YouTube channel.
Have you been a fan of Supreme for a long time?
It has always been my favorite brand. I’m really into the world of streetwear and skateboarding in general. I also like the fact that Supreme is not a luxury brand, with €30 you can get a piece of clothing which becomes much more valuable later on.
Is there still the same hype around this brand as a few years ago?
The hype has dropped. In my opinion that’s a good thing. This way, it’s made it more accessible. If you like their clothes you can get them, who cares about the hype.
Rebecca, 20, and Francesca, 18.
VICE: What do you like about Supreme?
Rebecca e Francesca: Supreme is a foundational brand in streetwear. We have been following it for years since it became hyped. We don't have any Supreme items yet, but we would like a little bit of everything, especially the box logo T-shirt. A friend of ours has been selected to go into the shop, we hope he will get us something.
There are very few women among Supreme’s fans. Why?
Streetwear is gaining popularity much more slowly among women. Plus, Supreme is mainly a male brand – despite being unisex, the shapes and cuts of the clothes are very masculine, so it’s not easy to wear unless you’re really into the skater style. But you can already see much more variety than a few years ago.
So, in your opinion, what is the future of streetwear?
Streetwear is becoming more and more fashionable, but this cycle will probably end in five or six years, as it always happens with trends. Then, there will be a return to a more classic style and restart all over again.