Gucci, Versace and Fendi are considered to be some of the most expensive and sought after clothing brands. However, starting in the mid-1990s, Supreme began to grow to command a large following that has placed it among the leading competitors.
Founded as a skateboard company, it has grown into a globally recognized name. Collaborations with labels like Louis Vuitton have only cemented Supreme’s place among the fashion powerhouses.
A part of what makes Supreme so valuable and in demand is the lucrative resell market of its products. For some Supreme products, buying at manufacturer’s suggested retail price gives potential for tremendous financial upside when flipped on the resell market. One of the most notable examples is the Supreme Box Logo hoodie which retails for $168, but can resell for more than $1000.
At Cal State Fullerton, students engage in buying and reselling Supreme products to make money or add to their personal collection.
Parth Patel, a senior accounting major, recently got into the Supreme buying and reselling business. The apparel company piqued his interest after seeing people on YouTube and Instagram wear the merchandise. His first time buying and reselling was during the fall and winter 2017 season.
“Kids think it’s easy and they buy something and think they can flip it the same week,” Patel said.
For Patel, it’s all about patience. He is banking on the items building up value and selling when it reaches a high point. Supreme merchandise will increase in value after it hits the market, it’s only of a matter of when.
In order for Patel to sell his collection, he said he goes to consignment stores like Round Two, a secondary store that sells authentic apparel. He uses StockX, is a website where people can purchase items like Supreme at resale value. He said he bought about 20 items this past season and plans on keeping only one.
“It’s cool to keep some things, but you can’t keep everything. Then you just lose money because it’s expensive for the hoodies and stuff. You can’t maintain it,” Patel said.
The Supreme resell market has given Patel another income source, which allowed him to leave his job at Sears.
Patel worked at Sears for 20 hours a week, but said he “reinvested” from Sears to Supreme. Over the course of the season, Patel estimates that he bought around $2000 worth of Supreme merchandise. Even though Patel hasn’t sold everything yet, he still expects to make a profit.
In future seasons, Patel expects his budget to stay the same, but his profits will fluctuate depending on what items have a high enough resale value.
Jaime Herrera, a second-year business major, was also introduced to Supreme through YouTube.
“I would just watch (YouTubers) and see lots of posts on Instagram and thought they were really cool,” Herrera said.
When searching for Supreme merchandise on the resale market, Herrera said he would also look to buy from StockX and use hypebeast.com for restocking information. Like Patel, he also looked at consignment stores, one residing in Los Angeles, to see what was on the market.
Preston Lee, a first-year business major, started buying Supreme during his sophomore year in high school and had to get creative to come up with the funds to purchase items.
Lee used money he received from Chinese New Year to buy his set of Supreme gear. He then flipped it to buy more Supreme merchandise, which began the cycle of buying and reselling in order to purchase more in the future.
“In the time I collected, I spent about three to four thousand dollars. I resold at some point and I still own a few pieces,” Lee said.
Among Lee’s Supreme merchandise were collaborations with Playboy, Commes des Garçons and Daniel Johnston.
Lee used platforms like Grailed, where he could sell his products to other interested buyers. Instagram, while not a specialized platform, allowed him to connect to people and conduct business with those who do not use selling applications.
Through those two channels, Lee said he sold about 80 percent of his collection and was still able to make a profit on the $3,000 to $4,000 he spent on building his inventory of Supreme merchandise.
In about two decades of business, Supreme has grown into more than just a typical skateboard brand. Collaborations with other global fashion brands demonstrate how powerful and influential it is.
People like Patel and Lee have used Supreme’s merchandise and profitable resale market as a reliable source of income. On the flip side, for students like Herrera, the resale market is a way to get merchandise that is high in demand by so many people.