Supreme creative director Tremaine Emory is stepping down from his role at the streetwear brand. In his resignation letter, Emory alleged that “systematic racism was at play within the structure of Supreme”, according to a report in Business of Fashion.
Emory joined the company a year and a half ago as its first-ever creative director. His appointment came shortly after the streetwear label was acquired by VF Corp, which also owns North Face, in a $2.1 billion deal.
According to Business of Fashion, Emory’s resignation letter also cited senior management’s “inability to communicate” with him about the “cancellation” of a planned collaboration with artist Arthur Jaffa.
Responding to the leaked letter, Supreme released a statement that said: “While we take these concerns seriously, we strongly disagree with Tremaine’s characterisation of our company and the handling of the Arthur Jafa project, which has not been cancelled.”
The statement went on to say that the company was “disappointed” that Emory’s appointment did not work out.
Now one of the biggest and most recognisable streetwear brands in the world, Supreme was launched by James Jebbia in 1994. The company started out as a skateboard and clothing shop in New York.
In the years since then, the brand has developed a cult following and experienced a stratospheric rise, with fans queuing around the block for new drops at stores all over the world.
Supreme has become known for its collaborations, which have included fashion brands as varied as Louis Vuitton, Comme des Garçons and North Face. The streetwear giant has also teamed up with renowned artists such as Damien Hirst. In one of the more niche launches, Supreme made a red clay brick that had the brand’s logo emblazoned on it.
While the brand has been going for 30 years, it did not have a creative director until Emory’s appointment in 2022. Emory is a designer, consultant and the founder of Denim Tears, a clothing brand that draws inspiration from the African diaspora.
The news comes after Supreme has just opened a new branch in Seoul.