- Marjorie van Elven |
Supreme founder James Jebbia has finally vented his frustrations about Supreme Italia, the Italian company using a loophole in local law to sell products bearing a strong resemblance to those offered by the American streetwear brand. “I don’t think another company has really had to deal with this like we have. This is a whole new level with this criminal enterprise -- these complete impostors and impersonators. This is a company that was able to convince one of the biggest companies in the world [Samsung] that they are the real thing”, Jebbia is quoted by Business of Fashion as saying.
Samsung received backlash in December for announcing a collaboration with Supreme during a conference in China. However, the company Samsung was teaming up with was actually Supreme Italia, a young business from Barletta, owned by Trade Direct and licensed to the UK-based International Brands Firm (IBF). Since the American streetwear label took too long to seek trademark rights in Italy, Supreme Italia registered activities in the country under the name “Supreme” and even uses a logo that looks almost identical to Supreme’s, except the red box is slightly larger. Samsung decided to terminate the collaboration following the controversy, but did not say whether it was aware or not that Supreme Italia was a “legal fake” and not the cult brand from New York.
“People should know that the idea of legal fakes is a complete farce,” said Jebbia to BoF, comparing the activities of companies like IBF to fake news. “We don’t do a ton of press and we are quite quiet. These guys are taking full advantage of that… We haven’t had the time to basically go on this massive disinformation tirade or press thing that most people would”. Supreme is known for creating scarcity around its products: instead of releasing collections, the brand “drops” individual items, usually announcing them on Instagram with a one-liner as caption. Jebba is also known for being a rather discreet CEO.
Picture: Supreme Facebook