It’s no news that Supreme has a huge fanbase, and this fanbase grows every single time they get a celebrity along to release another one of their classic celebrity Supreme collaborations. We all know the Supreme photo tees so well, so let’s take a look back at the best Supreme celebrity collabs of all time.
Supreme and Celebrities
Since gradually gaining its many followers and fans since the brand established in 1994, Supreme has become one of the most globally hyped and sought for brands around. The brand has become not just a brand but a lifestyle for many, popular with the skate scene and with fashion enthusiasts alike. A brand of this much reputation and hype doesn’t have to reach far for opportunities to expand through collaboration. In fact, it would surprise us if they had to look at all. People come to Supreme, Supreme doesn’t come to people.
Supreme has worked with many well-known brands, including The North Face, Comme des Garcons etc, creating limited-edition collections that sell-out in a heartbeat. They have also worked with popular culture films to create merch – for example, they recently created a line with Scarface – again, an unbelievably quick sell-out. In fact, it’s very rare that the average Supreme drop doesn’t sell out quicker than you can even say ‘Supreme’, so can you imagine how quick their celebrity collaborations go?
Supreme has been working with a long list of high-profile names for a while now, always creating the same style T-shirt with the celebs wearing Supreme on them. The list ventures from Kermit the Frog to Kate Moss to Morrissey, most of which features the photography of famous photographer Terry Richardson. They have also worked with celebs away from the photo T-shirt, such as the Lady Gaga x Supreme campaign. These Supreme picture tees are always limited-edition and one of, if not the most popular designs they produce. This post will look back to the most popular celebrity shirts they have designed.
2005 – Raekwon and Elmo
The Raekwon and Elmo x Supreme T-shirt was the first of their now iconic celebrity T-shirt series in 2005. The T-shirt featured the American rapper Raekwon The Chef posing with his bodyguard, a Tickle Me Elmo toy and a gun. Taken by Kenneth Cappello, this T-shirt kicked off and left Supreme fans highly anticipating more similar drops.
This T-shirt released before Supreme’s website had launched, so the shirt was sold exclusively in NYC, LA and Japan. It was all going well with its sales until the Sesame Street Lawyers got in touch to demand the T-shirt was pulled from stocks; they weren’t too keen on the association with Elmo and a gun. Elmo is, after all, their most prized character of the show. This wasn’t the last patch of controversy for Supreme. Keep reading to see the drama that occurred around the Morrissey x Supreme T-shirt in 2016.
2006 – Dipset
One year on from the Raekwon T-shirt saw the release of their second drop, the Dipset x Supreme design. The aesthetic of this Tee was not too dissimilar to the one of Raekwon, but none the less, it was just as popular. The hip-hop group ‘The Diplomates or Diplomatic Immunity’ arguably changed the way hip-hop was viewed back in the naughties. Made up of Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana and Freeky Zekey, they got their break from the creation of their street DVDs.
The Supreme T-shirt features Jim Jones and Juelz Santana, again, photographed by Kenneth Cappello. Rumour has it, there was a lot of weed and a whole load of vibes on set that day.
2007 – Mike Tyson
The Mike Tyson x Supreme T-shirt was one of the best Supreme photo Tees. As you can see, the Supreme box logo is a key feature of each of the celebrity T-shirts, and that was in no rush to change. At this time, Mike Tyson was the third person from New York to be asked to take part in the series which was shot in his hotel room in Las Vegas, again, by Kenneth Cappello.
The Brooklyn-born heavyweight fighter stands as a popular and rare Supreme photo T-shirt and is debatably one of the most iconic T-shirts from the whole of the portrait series so far. He also stands as the only sportsman to be featured in the series as of yet.
2008 – Kermit
Following the uproar of Elmo featuring on one of their T-shirts, they would have had to be extra careful about the Muppets x Supreme collab. The Kermit The Frog x Supreme T-shirt featured the so-lovable puppet wearing a custom-made Supreme box logo T-shirt – no guns in sight. The Kermit collab was also made into a small figurine toy – a highly valuable collector’s item.
Terry Richardson was the photographer to come on board at this stage, taking this photo and making a commitment to stick with Supreme for more of the celebrity T-shirt series.
See the video of the shoot here.
2011 – Prodigy
This T-shirt was released only three months after Prodigy was released from jail, and this collaboration was a long time coming after the hype of Mobb Deep back in NY when Supreme started out.
The Prodigy x Supreme T-shirt photograph was taken by Terry Richardson, and featured Prodigy standing in front of a picture of Queensboro Bridge. It’s pretty obvious that this portrait Tee differs from the other ones featured thus far. Yes, he is still styled in the red box logo T-shirt, but the background isn’t blank white, and the T-shirt design isn’t as minimal as the rest with the addition of all the writing along the edges. The writing around the photograph is made up of some of his famous quotes, as well as ‘The H.N.I.C’ – his nickname and the title of his debut album, standing for ‘Head N*gger In Charge’.
You can take a look at the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot here.
2012 – Kate Moss
The Kate Moss x Supreme T-shirt was long awaited by the Supreme fans. By the time this had released they had already created three previous T-shirts featuring the British supermodel. These were the 2004 NYC 10th Anniversary T-shirt, showing Kate Moss in a white bikini, the 2006 Kate Kiss Tee with the kiss print layered over a nude black and white photo of Kate and the 2008 Daikanyama 10th Anniversary T-shirt.
So, when it came around to Kate Moss featuring on her own celebrity tee, the Supreme lovers were excited to see what they came up with. Instead of merely making her the face of the next T-shirt in the series, they made her the face of the Supreme spring campaign in its entirety. The T-shirt features an iconic Moss photograph, taken by another incredible fashion photographer, Alasdair McLellan. The photograph they flew with varied from the past works of the series. Kate Moss was styled in the red box logo Supreme T-shirt but this time there was the addition of a bold leopard print fur coat. She is also seen holding a burning cigarette, making for an indelible piece of art.
2012 – Three 6 Mafia
Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul and Juicy J were the first hip-hop group that isn’t from New York to feature on a portrait Tee.
Different to the other T-shirts, the Three 6 Mafia x Supreme Tee has two separate photographs next to each other. On the left, DJ Paul wears a black T-shirt, and on the right, Juicy J wears a purple box logo T-shirt, drinking out of a matching cup. They both wear matching caps in different colours, and underneath the photos, there is some writing, tipping the T-shirt into the graphics category.
Watch the video for this T-shirt here.
2015 – Neil Young
The Neil Young x Supreme box logo celebrity T-shirt was one of the more unexpected drops of the series. Neil Young is a Canadian folk legend who has dedicated his life to music and messages to the people. We guess that Young’s participation in such a mainstream, hyped brand was to reach out to a further audience and spread his word to more people who would listen. It’s also commendable of Supreme to get involved with icons who don’t, generally, suit the usual Supreme demographic.
Another Supreme New York photoshoot went underway for this one, as Terry Richardson sits behind his lens for Supreme once again. For this shoot, Neil Young holds on tight to his character as he wears his plaid shirt layered over the T-shirt, accessorised with his hat and a necklace.
Watch the story behind the Neil Young x Supreme collab here.
2016 – Morrissey
Where to start with this one? The Morrissey x Supreme collab gathered a lot of attention, and not for the good reasons we had hoped for.
Morrissey is a big deal – he just is, and being the frontman of The Smiths, how could he not be? So surely, the collective creativity of Morrissey, Supreme and photographer Terry Richardson was going to be a flying success? Well, it was in some aspects, but for the most part, it was disastrous. We’re sure you know the story, but to fill you in if you don’t, Morrissey despised the photographs, stating that they were ‘enfeebled’ and that he only deemed them ‘fit only for a medical encyclopedia’.
Morrissey is a well-known strong vegetarian, and shortly after the participation with Supreme and Richardson, he stated that he discovered Supreme is sponsored by White Castle, a burger chain in America (referring to their 2015 collaboration, not sponsorship). This association caused him to state he did not want to be a part of the campaign, and he pleaded them to not use his image. After going backwards and forwards, Morrissey put his lawyers on the case, however, Supreme still created and sold the portrait T-shirt. This still remains a great collaboration, only with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
2016 – Gucci Mane
The Gucci Mane x Supreme T-shirt came about by director Harmony Corine, who has had a strong relationship with Supreme since the day they started. The T-shirt dropped a painful four months after they had worked on a video together, which was released to tease both the music and fashion enthusiasts. You can check out this video below. The video featured Gucci Mane in his impressive house, walking around in the signature red box logo Tee.
The T-shirt features an image that was shot at the time of the video along with Gucci Mane’s signature within the frame. As you can imagine, this was an unbelievably quick sell-out.
See the video of Gucci Mane by Harmony Corine for Supreme here.
On That Note
Supreme has worked with some of the biggest names in the fashion, film and music industries, bringing the Supreme and celebrity fans a memorabilia for life with every one of their drops. From Kermit the Frog and Kate Moss to Mike Tyson, Three 6 Mafia and Morrissey, there really is no predicting who they are going to feature on their celebrity portrait T-shirt series next. If you have one of these T-shirts, hold on tight to them as their value will only increase in time. There are a lot of expensive photo T-shirts on the internet at the moment, with some going for a few hundred at a minimum. If any celebrity could feature on the Supreme portrait series, who would your top choice be?