CLARK: Hi Angelo, please introduce yourself and tell us what is your job at Supreme.
AB: I am the marketing director of Supreme. What I do and how I do it depends on the menu of the day.
The best part of my job is the flexibility that i have. I take care of the artistic direction, most of the styling during the photoshoots and all the web content with my friend Jake Davis. I also contribute to the direction Supreme should take for future collections. I also deal with artists, photographs, skateboarders, giving them a platform to express their talent.
C: How did you start with SUPREME and how do you see the evolution of the brand?
AB: I worked for James Jebbia my current boss at the Stussy store in NYC when i was about 21. Then i started to help my friend Will Whitney to open a new store called Nom de Guerre. I worked there as a manager / buyer for about three years, until James called me to make a small talk about something. That chat has become an interview for Supreme. As far as the evolution of the brand concerned, we have to split it out in 2 parts
First of all, SUPREME, as a brand of clothing, has continued to develop its basis concept like sweatshirts, hats and jackets – in the last twelve years. Around 1998, I began to get interested in Supreme. Later, I only made slight adjustments to the collection, nothing drastic. In my opinion the brand has always worked well as the New York voice.
After that, this second part pertains more to the popularity and availability of the brand. Right now Supreme is accessible to all and within everybody’s reach, but in 1998 there were only few people from the skate scene and downtown the city that knew the brand. So if you were looking for something made by Supreme, you had to go to the store and it was like playing with fire for that period. Now there are a lot of people wearing Supreme because of the web. You don’t have to move to New York or Los Angeles to get the information you need about it.
C: Supreme has always seemed hard to please in its collaborations. What’s the main approach for a collaboration?
AB: Almost all the projects that we produce are collective efforts. Not everyone here at Supreme has the same point of view, and this is our power. To make the ideas work, they have to be unanimous. If everyone would always agree on the same things, we would be on the same level of a shoes store which sell only one brand or one type of color.
C: Sharing a common bond with APC in having strong seasonal collections, you participated in a collaboration last year. How important is the brand and its relevance and the need to be ahead of the competitors?
AB: The purpose of the collaboration is to realize products that we usually don’t carry out by ourselves. With APC it was a special project for two brands with a similar mentality and philosophy. Anyone who knows New York and Soho will know that the two shops are within walking distance even if they serve a different type of clientele. Over the past 4 years, the distance between our customers has been decreasing: everyday I see kids wearing APC jeans and a Supreme jacket, or vice versa.
When we work on a collaboration project we don’t focus on what other people might find relevant. I got a perfect example, the project we did with Oakley. At that time, nobody excepted a small group of us wore the “Frogskins”. It was a project in which we believed and we realized immediately that this would be cool. Quality products always talk by themselves.
C: Supreme has begun to sell its products online. Some people have accused you of “prostitution”.
AB: I do not consider selling on line as prostitution. Our customers are always consistent with their tastes and now the kids can find ways to purchase our products either on eBay or on the forums. So why not let them buy from the source?
C: Someone informed me that you were one of the biggest fan of Morrissey. What about the other sources of inspiration when u workin’?
AB: Hell yeah! I’m a big fan of Morrissey. I was lucky when i was young to have a friend who introduced me to him and the Smiths. The other things that inspire me are photography – Richard Avedon – Joe Bataan, beautiful shoes, the mixtapes by Young Chris, Nas, Queens, Mobb Deep, Cam’ron and Vado, Ignorant Behavior, Shaq, exploration of the net, selections of oldies rock d’Art Laboe, women, and over all in my list there is worldstarhiphop.com!
But there are also the daily things, like waking up, looking out the window, walking to the station, listening to the city. At the same time the power to be able to change everyday. The family of course and to all my friends in the world that I was lucky enough to meet in the last 31 years. And I’m always waiting for a new adventure.
C: A final word to all the French readers. Something about the place where Supreme will be sold in France now that the brand is no longer at colette?
AB: Be patient and do not go spending your money on eBay