On this recent Thanksgiving Day, The New York Times published a highly anticipated article on the story of monster brand Supreme. Whether you wer were anticipating it or not, it was an incredible read. Up until then, I don’t believe their tale has ever been told…especially not as thoroughly and concise as in the way New York Times covered it.
I was approached weeks ago by the writer, Alex Williams, to answer some questions about the brand and the brand’s owner…James Jebbia. I was honored to be apart of the piece. Supreme is the template. If it’s not your favorite brand, it’s definitely your favorite brands favorite brand.
I grew up in Albany during the 90′s, hearing stories about the cool New York City shop. Even then, my skateboarding friends and I knew of it’s (then, budding) legend. This was before the internet was as refined as it is now and to find cool things we relied on first hand travel, conversation, story sharing, magazines and rarely (if ever) television . Actually, scratch television off the list – cool things were never featured on TV, maybe MTV though…when it actually aired culturally relevant content.
When I moved to New York City, Supreme was one of the very first places I flocked to. I knew some guys who worked there and when I needed a job to pay for my ramen student diet I asked Gio Estevez (who was working at the shop then) if they or anyone in the neighborhood was hiring. He told me to check Stussy (another store under the Jebbia umbrella) and that he would let them know I was coming by. I filled out my application and within days I was interviewing in front of James Jebbia, the genius behind the brand. I remember being nervous because it was an interview, but also feeling at ease because of James’s upfront, non-bullsh*t nature. I told him I really wanted to work in Supreme, but he thought it would be best to be at Stussy. Needless to say, I was hired!
Working at Stussy was one of my favorite jobs ever. So many of my co-workers (who were more like family) went on to start great brands and work for major companies. Not only did I make lifelong best friends, like Angelo Baque, but I also learned a lot more about different cultures, the fashion industry, the sneaker world and New York City. So many different kinds of people came through those Soho doors, offering up conversation and experiences that my tender young self prized. Having the opportunity to work for such an influential brand and human being like James Jebbia has massively inspired me and overwhelmingly shaped my own taste.
VASHTIE (NYC, Circa 2002/2003) – Little dude for life! Stretched lobes and all!
VASHTIE, NYC 2012 (In case you forgot what I looked like)
AARON BONDAROFF aka A-RON THE DON, JAMES, VASHTIE & ANGELO BAQUE (Supreme Party, Westway – Fashion Week NYC 2012)