Box Logos in Brooklyn: Some Thoughts on Supreme's New Storefront
- Words Javin Busby
- Date October 06, 2017
For seasoned box logo bearers, the site on Grand Street on Thursday was one they should have been well acquainted with—and possibly anticipating. Sporadic loitering from cash-gripped resellers looking to make short term cash investments for future profit, backpack clad gents with youthful faces that wouldn’t look out of place in high school classroom pacing up and down the block, and barricaded queues dressed with intimidating security to mind them. For everyone else, Supreme Brooklyn’s grand opening was more of a spectacle garnering equal curiosity from those in passing and their new neighbors alike.
“Is it a concert?” one man pondered as security cleared the stoop of a small group of men on which they had taken refuge a few houses down from his own. “Young people, looks like teens, must be a concert”, another man muttered to his wife as they walked past the clustering of bodies on the neighboring Wythe Avenue, where a preliminary queue had been organized. And although Supreme is one to attract high profile clients like those who would take center stage at a concert on any given day, this event isn’t one that’s simply “here today and gone tomorrow.”
With the success the brand has accumulated gradually over its 23 years of existence—including a particular swell in press and attention in the last couple years—scenes like the ones playing out in Williamsburg throughout the day Thursday are here to stay.
With the grand opening of a new Supreme store comes a special iteration of one of its most sought after offerings, the infamous box logo; already lusted after regardless of season or occasion, it becomes even more desirable when a limited edition is churned out as an in-store exclusive, commemorating the christening of a new store location. The black and white box logo T-shirt launched last year as an exclusive for the Paris store opening is still fetching over $1000, so it should be of no surprise that the new exclusive for the Brooklyn store would seduce resellers looking for a big payday, and provide a highly flex-worthy opportunity for those looking to actually buy—and keep—their Brooklyn-exclusive bogo.
Alongside the camo clad box logo tee was also a huge restock of earlier Fall 2017 accessories and apparel that had released (and, naturally, sold out) earlier in the season. The new store also dovetailed with Supreme’s latest collaboration with Italian luxury sportswear brand Stone Island. The opening gave the lucky minority who had registered online plenty of opportunity to spend their cash. For the others who tried and failed to cop, the only thing they walked away with was bitter disappointment and confusion.
On the one hand, Supreme drops have progressed tenfold in the past year or so. Gone are the days of patient patrons having their places in line compromised by the friends of security and palm greasers who arrived at the store just before the gates were raised at 11 am. What was once a Royal Rumble-esque affair, synonymous with folding chairs and overnight stays on Lafayette Street in the blistering New York winters and sweltering summers, is now simply a test of agility for those swift enough to sign up for a place in line on the brand’s site. With the addition of slots available for the newly launched Brooklyn store, finding your way inside one of the NY retail spaces should be a breeze…right?
If you disagree, then you may in fact be somewhat familiar with the brand up to this point. As the sign up for both the Manhattan and Brooklyn locations became available at noon EST, they were surely all filled to the brim before the clock would strike 12:01. And although, in a fantasy world, one would hope that they may be able to arrive on the day and squeeze themselves in this online queue, that type of optimism simply doesn’t work for a brand as hyped as Supreme. Although a new store brings more opportunity for would-be shoppers, it doesn’t change the fact that the sheer number of Supreme fanatics looking to find themselves within the confines of either of their three US retail outposts greatly dwarf the two stores’ combined capacity.
Sure, the organized pandemonium surrounding a brand new outpost emerging on 152 Grand Street is somewhat warranted all things considered, but what will the new location mean for consumers, the neighborhood and the brand at large in the long term?
As founder James Jebbia explained in his recent GQ interview, he is well aware of just how troublesome it can be to get a piece of the brand at this point. He hopes that this new location may ease some of the tension and endless queues that have formed around the original Lafayette Street location for years. He is also well aware of the fact that it may remain just as difficult to find your way inside either location from Thursday through the weekend, but hopes that individuals will have a bit more luck if they’re hoping to pop in on non-drop days. Its an optimistic sentiment—as missing out on the chance to simply browse the racks in a Supreme store can be its own unique challenge; certain visitors unfamiliar with the brand may make plans to hit up Supreme’s Lafayette location—only to find a two hour queue with only an hour of business left in the day.
For resellers, the new Brooklyn location is just another facet by which to rack up on the high ticket items of the week. The store may, however, increase the supply of Supreme on the US aftermarket as the Paris opening did for Europe (though only incrementally so). Theoretically, if there’s an influx of more Supreme product, it’s possible that the push can spur a more buyer-friendly market, driving resell pricing down. On the other hand, it is plausible that the moderate increase in supply may maintain the lower aftermarket value of the lesser hyped products, pieces which are sure to be stockpiling in the homes of novice, would-be resell tycoons. Either way, with Supreme’s notoriously stringent policies on how much they release, the idea of large amounts of Supreme merch suddenly hitting the wider market is more speculation than a sure bet.
As for the neighborhood, the new shop is sure to be a hit with some and a miss for others. “I’m not mad at it” one woman noted as she looked on at all of the commotion from the neighboring vintage shop in which she was working. Associates standing post at the Fool’s Gold shop across the street were also peering from their stronghold at all of the hustling and bustling brought on by their cool new neighbors. As patrons awaited their time to file in line, black suits urged them not to cluster on stoops along the street and near the barricade, and were urged to spend time with local businesses, purchasing food or drinks from nearby restaurants and delis. A man working at the deli at the northwest corner of the block noticed the commotion made by the new guys on the block with a sudden effect he could witness first-hand, and more importantly, monetarily. “They’re coming in for drinks, snacks, and sandwiches” he explains, though modest in regard to how much business the new store may or may not have brought on this particular Thursday. For others, more residential, the inclusion of the streetwear heavyweight may not universally praised. Many of the locals appeared perplexed at the massive queue and wandering teens buzzing around Grand Street and its neighboring avenues, as security fought to maintain the flow of the line as well as maintaining the calm of a relatively quiet residential area.
Whether you see the new shop as an addition for good or for ill, leave it to Supreme to, well…“fuck up the neighborhood.”
Locals who were not as in the loop as to know to (attempt to) sign up online were turned away, referred to the aforementioned website with a bit of sarcastic disappointment. “A new business in the area, and you can’t even come check it out,” one woman complained.
The hope is that, in the future, when a bit of the Brooklyn box logo-branded hype dies out and the first week restocks deplete, patrons like those turned away will—eventually—be able to wander into Supreme’s glistening new Williamsburg residence to buy a piece of the brand that everyone is talking about. Regardless, those who have been forced out of their borough, trekking it across the Manhattan Bridge to Soho in the past, can now do a little less commuting and a little less queuing a little bit closer to home.
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