Guerilla Fashion: A Story of Supreme

“Supreme is a company that refuses to sell out,”
Mr. Jebbia grew up mainly in Sussex, England. His American father was in the United States Air Force, and his English mother was a homemaker and then a teacher (they split when he was around 10). Mr. Jebbia devoured style magazines like The Face and I-D, and spent weekends window-shopping in London. For a time he worked in a Duracell battery factory.
But New York held a firm grip on his imagination, so after a visit in 1983 to his father, then living in West Virginia, he moved to Staten Island, into a $500-a-month apartment. Over the next six years, he worked his way up at Parachute, the ’80s minimalist clothing store in SoHo, and sold fashionable backpacks and vintage clothes at a flea market on Spring Street.
Eventually he scraped up enough money to open his own shop, Union, on Spring Street, which specialized in British labels like the Duffer of St. George and Fred Perry, as well as Stüssy, the California skate-wear line. That led to a partnership with Shawn Stussy in the cultish Stüssy boutique on Prince Street, which could be seen as a progenitor of Supreme.
When Mr. Stussy cashed out, Mr. Jebbia, never a skater himself, opened a skate shop of his own, on a then-forlorn stretch of Lafayette.
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“But New York in general was like that.”

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