Cult American streetwear and skateboarding brand Supreme is in the market for a new creative director following the sudden resignation of designer Tremaine Emory, who held the position for the last 18 months. Emory's resignation from the company allegedly following a nixed collaboration with artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa.
Supreme released a statement this morning via The Business of Fashion about its parting of ways with Emory, which was rebuked by the former creative director on his own Instagram, calling the statement "...a lie to hide the systemic racism that lies deep within Supreme and almost all white owned corporations".
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Supreme has been criticised in the past for profiting off of Black culture, be it selling merchandise that prominently featured Black icons like Raekwon and Malcolm X, to its company name, which is rooted in African-American jazz musician John Coltrane's 1965 album title A Love Supreme.
In his Instagram post, Emory continued to say that: "I wanted to work with supreme to change these things and instead I told I was racially charged, emotional, and using the wrong forum by bring up systemic racism in a meeting when I was asked if we should work with a black female artist whilst this Jafa project was secretly shutdown without anyone talking to me."
Emory joined the streetwear giant in February 2022, and was Supreme’s first high-profile appointment since it was acquired by VF Corp. Already a well-established name in streetwear circles prior to joining Supreme, Emory's own label, Denim Tears (which was founded in 2019) had already been collaborating with design heavyweights like Ye and the late Virgil Abloh. His design ethos largely centred on exploring Black culture; his partnership with Levi's in 2020, for example, sought to explore the relationship between cotton and America's legacy of slavery.
Who will take over as creative director of Supreme?
It's too soon to tell who will take the reigns of the streetwear giant next, and Emory has yet to announce where – if anywhere – he plans to move on to. Perhaps his collaborative relationship with Dior Homme's creative lead, Kim Jones, might prove fruitful.
Supreme’s Fall Winter 23 collection will be their last under Emory’s creative direction.