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Interviews

What’s ‘Very Supreme’? Jörg Haas’s Surprising Answer

By Sotheby's
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Jorg Haas, branding and marketing maven, founder of BEINGHUNTED, also Supreme’s former official European retailer reveals some of the most sought-after Supreme accessories over the years.
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Jörg Haas. Photography: Holger von Krosigk (@holgervonkrosigk)

What does the brand Supreme mean to you?
When I think of Supreme, I probably think more of James Jebbia than the store and brand itself. Back in 1991, I went to New York in the spring, and one of my first stops was the newly-opened Stüssy store - the original one - which Jebbia operated. You might have seen the video interview with him on YouTube. Back then, Stüssy was THE brand. It was my favorite, but so hard to come by. Then there was Union, probably the best store of its kind outside of Japan. It had the most iconic logo - stronger for me, even, than Stüssy, Supreme, Bape, etc. I was in New York again in 1994, and I believe I visited the Supreme store then. Although it wasn't well-known, it was already very enigmatic, mostly because of the movie, KIDS. Back then it was a 'true' skate shop, and back then if you weren't skating, you wouldn't wear a skate brand T-shirt or hat.

What got you into collecting Supreme?
I’ve accumulated a lot of Supreme products over the years, but I wasn't actively collecting them. I picked up stuff from the store in New York when I was there (and it happened to be open - I often went during my summer holidays which coincided with the seasonal break and the shop was closed), and then when I became one of the few official retailers in Europe, I took the stuff I liked. The only products I truly collected for a while, but not too seriously, were the decks - not just because they were Supreme decks, but because of the actual artists (I had always collected decks).

From your perspective, what makes Supreme so collectable?
Well, for a lot of people these days I'm sure it's the resale value. Other than that, and this was always the case, Supreme had something that surprised you every time: something that you didn't have, that you might not have known about, or have even known that you wanted. A Braun alarm clock. It was always there, always iconic... but you might have never taken notice of it until Supreme picked it up and branded it. Supreme makes good stuff, pick the right stuff... so it's easy to like I guess?

What was your first major Supreme memory?
Seeing the Mike Mills designed T-shirts at the store: Marlboro Man, the airplanes, but not buying them as I wasn't skating anymore. The most ‘major’ moment, was opening the first boxes of Supreme arriving at my old shop.

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SUPREME PUFFY KEYCHAIN (Lot 90-96) , Estimate: HK$1,000 - 3,500. © Travis Vaughn


What are your 5 favorite Supreme accessories and why?
1. Puffy Keychain: Everyone liked these because they were just a genius little thing. Super basic, bold... and with the big branding. People really used these to a point where they fell apart. I remember having a good number of these and people came back buying new ones. I don't know if anyone went fishing or surfing with one, though.
2.Public Enemy Pin (in Black and in Yellow): Pins were always the key accessories, and for the Public Enemy collaboration this was the smallest thing to get - but such a statement. The skateboard you could either skate or put on the wall, the T-shirts, etc. you could only wear at certain points. The pin you could put on whatever, wear whenever... it was always visible.
3. Scorpion Keychain: When I saw it in the catalogue I couldn’t be 100% sure it was an actual scorpion. Then I thought there might be a problem importing stuff like that. When the delivery came I believe everyone at the office took one. Much later, I went to Shanghai and saw a lot more of these with a lot more exotic insects, some of them huge!
4. Praying Hands Salt & Pepper (in Black and in Red): One of those "I didn't know these existed, I never wanted one - until now" kind of accessories. I put a lot of Supreme things away but these are always on the table.
5. Glass Ashtray: This is more of an anti-favorite item. I was really looking forward to these. When the shipment came in, I opened the box and it was full of tiny glass shards. They were everywhere... and the box also contained hoodies, among other things. A major f**k-up by their shipping guys. They literally just threw the package with ashtrays into the bigger box with no extra padding, no bubble wrap. So all of them broke into tiny little pieces, not one survived. It was such a stupid thing to do that it made me laugh... very ‘Supreme’, I thought.

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SUPREME SCORPION KEYCHAINS [2 PIECES] , Estimate: HK$800 - 1,000.

What is your all-time favorite Supreme piece?
I really don't like these questions where I need to pick one! I love the E.T. and Red Riding Hood T-shirts, they’re probably my most favorite. The Ryan McGinness Pantone decks are my absolute favorite among all the decks I know. Such an ingenious idea. I was lucky to get one via Sarah at Colette who had his show in Paris at the time. But, if I only had to pick one it would have to be the hand-painted Ramm:Ell:Zee backpacks.

Favorite Supreme collection of all time?
The UNDERCOVER Colab. My favorite piece is the "The Fall of the Rebel Angels (Bruegel)" Coach Jacket.

Why do you think Supreme has such high resale value?
It just spiralled upwards... and there seems to be a lot of money in kids' wallets these days. That plus the willingness to spend it, I guess.

People go crazy for Supreme accessories - what makes them so appealing?
Very simply, put the box logo.

If you could have one Supreme accessory, which would it be?
That's an odd question. If I was in the store to pick one? Or if - for whatever reason - I would have to let go of everything? At this point, probably the most valuable to re-sell... hahahaha!

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