I Shop Therefore I Am: The Controversial History Of The Supreme Box Logo

I Shop Therefore I Am: The Controversial History Of The Supreme Box Logo

From Bauhaus to NYC skate shop.

POSTEDBYDEE CUNNING

Founded by James Jebbia in 1994, Supreme's first store opened in downtown Manhattan, designed with a unique, large central space so that skaters could ride right in with their boards and browse the cool selection of tees and skateboards. Supreme's iconic box logo was created at the same time, its statement simplicity becoming an instant hit with the hip clientele. Nowadays Supreme has risen to such cult status that skateboarders, streetwear heads, collectors and high fashion figures habitually lose it about anything emblazoned with the logo, as if its been sprinkled with gold dust (*cough* Supreme brick *cough*), despite having no idea about its provenance. 

With such ridiculous levels of demand comes stories, myths and controversies, making the history of the box logo quite an interesting, if not a rather unclear, one. What we do know for certain is that the font, Futura Bold Italic, was created in 1927 by Paul Renner, based on the geometric shapes that became representative of the Bauhaus design style of the time. In 1979, artist Barbara Kruger used the font for her propaganda piece Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am), the words “I shop therefore I am” a criticism of consumer-driven society. The bold white typeface sits on a red box background – stick the artwork on an expensive t-shirt today and you could probably fool even the most dedicated of hypebeasts.

Supreme, despite being well-known for co-opting other people and other companies' design elements, denied copying Kruger's work, instead admitting to using Renner's font in the same way at a copyright infringement legal case back in 2013. It wasn't Kruger suing Supreme, however, but Supreme suing Married to the Mob's Leah Sweeney for her parodical “Supreme Bitch” merch. As Complex reports, Kruger has been pretty quiet about Supreme's red-and-white logo, despite the commercial entrepreneurs that originally inspired her work profiting off the template she arguably set. When asked to comment, Kruger responded with the following.

“What a ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers. I made my work about this kind of sadly foolish farce. I'm waiting for all of them to sue me for copyright infringement.”

You can't help but see the irony here, but we're sure this was exactly Jebbia's intention. Case in point: that retro Supreme logo with the accented “e” was inspired by André Courrèges, the designer who popularized the mini-skirt back in 1965.  

 

All Images via Instagram and blogspot.com

 

  COMMENTS

Ok
more from fashion
Filas new lookbook is all about south african youth culture1
FASHION | 
FILA's New Lookbook Is All About South African Youth Culture
Cape Town cool.
Obscure rebellion lookbook winter 20175
FASHION | 
Get Your Fierce Streetwear Fix With Obscure Rebellion's Winter Lookbook
The “Revenge” collection.
White 1978 ferrari 308 gtb preview
FASHION | 
SSENSE X KAR/ L'Art de L'Automobile Drop Incredible Retro Ferrari
Inspired by street culture.
Kwas x peanuts kollektion preview 2
FASHION | 
Snoopy Stars In UNIQLO's Second Peanuts Collection
In collaboration with New York artist KAWS.
Hyein seo lookbook preview
FASHION | 
Hyein Seo Bosses It With Attention-Grabbing Fall/Winter Lookbook
The Korean label takes us on a wild night out.
Helmut lang pre spring 2018 is a black streetwear masterpiece10
FASHION | 
Helmut Lang Pre-Spring 2018 Is A Black Streetwear Masterpiece
Shayne Oliver breathes life into the iconic label.
Facebook blackTwitter blackInstagram blackPinterest blackTumblr black