When Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury brand, unveiled an entire collaboration collection with none other than Supreme, the elite of streetwear companies, the final brick in the wall that previously divided high fashion and streetwear was shattered with a logo-laden hammer. The collection that was released a few years ago elicited reactions ranging from astonishment to awe to outright contempt from streetwear critics and fans.
Supreme may have been dubbed “the Chanel of downtown New York” by The Business of Fashion, but Vogue did so 20 years ago in its March 1995 fine print, with an expected page by Mary Tannen comparing Chanel to Supreme. The story was published just a year after Supreme debuted, at a period when a brand’s store at Lafayette Street was mostly populated by skaters and tight-knit groups of endearingly cool downtown youngsters.
Supreme’s design approach, as Tannen highlighted in her Vogue feature, was not all that different from the roguish appearance of high fashion en masse at the time, and both labels have their own cult following and unique looks to their associates.
James Jebbia, Supreme’s founder, also freely admitted to being influenced by the brand Chanel and its creative direction.
In an odd twist, Vogue reported in 1995 that Chanel was more likely to sell products comparable to Supreme’s than the other way around, if we look back at some of the two labels’ novelty items and statement accessories over the last several years, there are a few parallels. Given how popular Supreme has become among fashion journalists and skaters, there is a possibility that Jebbia has taken some design inspirations from Karl Lagerfeld in his quest to take Supreme worldwide. But what if Karl also been taking notes the entire time?
We have listed down a few products where Chanel and Supreme accidentally (or coincidentally) released the same novelty product designs.
Although Chanel has never completely launched their own fire extinguisher, the one that Jebbia mentioned in his New York Times article to explain the introduction of Supreme’s own was most likely inspired by a concept by German artist Niclas Castello. Since 2014, Castello has been developing an array of “luxury” fire extinguishers, with Beyonce and Jay-Z reportedly among his customers.
Supreme’s fire extinguisher, created in collaboration with Kidde Fire’s SS15 collection, was proof that Jebbia is keeping track of every Chanel memorabilia, whether or not it has been created by Kaiser Karl himself.
Most people might not remember when Supreme released its own surfboard, that is because it has not occurred (just yet) but given how close it is to Supreme’s crazy items, someone out there might have managed to make their own Supreme surfboard knockoff. By re-mixing Supreme’s famous Barbra Kruger-inspired logo, the board magnifies rocker Morrissey, who modeled for Supreme’s Spring-Summer 2016 collection (and reportedly regretted it afterwards).
While Supreme may have missed the wave, Kaiser Karl has never lost a beat. Surfboards have appeared in previous Chanel ads with Mariacarla Boscono and Frankie Rayder, as well as on the runway shows in a Chanel No.5 fragrance campaign including Giselle Bundchen. Chanel’s outrageously lavish surfboards became available for purchase starting 2010. It goes without saying that they were quickly sold out. Chanel’s surfbards were made of monochromatic carbon fiber, fiberglass, and polyutherane, and came with a Chanel-branded carrying bag.
Chanel and Supreme have each dropped a basketball, but who was first to do so? You would think it would be Supreme. After all, the streetwear label is a New York institution, and the city’s basketball scene is never missed. Some would be mistaken. In 2004, Chanel released its own basketball design which was only made in small quantities and is now a highly sought-after collectible, fetching up to $1,500 at different auction houses. Although Supreme did not release its own basketball design with their collaboration with Spalding in 2007, resale pricing are expected to frequently surpass Chanel’s.