Fashion Gives Top Award to Skate Lifestyle Brand | “I’ve never considered Supreme to be a fashion company or myself a designer.”
What a strange place fashion is. It’s a fantasy land where a screen printer turned DJ who Instagrams himself barely landing one foot on a tre flip can take over as creative director of Louis Vuitton. It’s a land where a skateboard lifestyle brand can win the biggest award in fashion. James Jebbia’s Supreme won the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Menswear Designer of the Year award. He is an elusive Brit who considers Supreme not a fashion brand and himself not a designer. And humble too, saying in his acceptance speech, ” “I’ve never considered Supreme to be a fashion company, or myself a designer, but I appreciate the recognition for what we do.”
But of course the CFDA honoring a mostly tee and logo brand brings up many questions.
What does it mean to be an influencer vs. designer? What is the fashion world really grasping for here? How do the “real” designers feel about all this? Are they that out of touch that they need to cling to skateboard culture? With all this momentum in skateboarding is it the culture of the future? Let’s hope so?
Our take: fashion is and has always been fake as fuck grasping onto nothing. It’s pretty cool to see it adopt skateboarding especially if it means more money and other benefits for the real skaters out there.
What does it mean to be a “designer”? What is the real role of an “influencer” in fashion?
The CFDA awards — a red carpet gobstopper of a night of mutual appreciation and Champagne for American fashion — is not normally the place for big macro-questions about how the industry defines itself. But Monday night at the Brooklyn Museum, that is exactly what happened. The questions were raised by the winners themselves.
Especially the — well, what do we call him? — company founder whose win as Menswear Designer of the Year was the biggest upset of the night: James Jebbia of Supreme. A.k.a. the skate lifestyle brand known for its highly anticipated limited product drops, and ability to splash its red and white logo across everything from sweatshirts to baseball caps and bricks (also, in a collaboration, Louis Vuitton products).
On stage, in his gray suit, almost imperceptible against the vibrant video backdrop, Mr. Jebbia thanked the CFDA for his statuette and noted: “I’ve never considered Supreme to be a fashion company or myself a designer.”
But the definition of a designer is changing, and Mr. Jebbia’s win is the most potent expression of that shift.