When Supreme started making clothes in 1994, its ethos was crystal clear. It was a downtown skate brand for downtown skaters. The clothes were made for the cool kids by the cool kids, and you had to know about it to know about it. Supreme’s reputation traveled by word of mouth, the most reliable marker of a brand’s street cred. Like much of cult phenomena, it was a kind of a secret handshake, a signifier of belonging to a certain group. If you wore Supreme, just like if you wore say a black leather jacket or a pair of combat boots, you signaled a collection of cultural values that attracted like-minded people, a good way to make friends. What were those values? A big part of it, I think, was about opting out of bourgeois society, out of both its taste and value systems, visually through clothes that looked markedly different, and that also signaled that you don’t buy into conformity, blandness, the gray existence of the society’s majority. Fast-forward to today and Supreme looks vastly different. It’s become one of the most desirable brands of the fashion elite, of mass-taste celebrities, and of a myriad of Instagram starlets whose only job consists of photographing their impossibly toned bodies at far-flung locales. Walk around SoHo today and you are bound to run into some ditsy model with pouty lips in a Supreme top. The result is the erasure of most, if not all meaning that Supreme has previously held. I’d wager that most people who wear Supreme today have never been on a skateboard. The brand’s coolness now derives solely from the scarcity of its product and of bragging rights one acquires by owning something others do not. No one is immune from this type of narcissism, greatly exacerbated by Boastogram, but I would imagine that a Kardashian-wannabe type is much less so than a kid trying out a new skate trick. Read more at Style Zeitgeist.