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The brand was founded by James Jebbia in 1994. The first Supreme store opened in an old office space on Lafayette Street in Lower Manhattan in April 1994. It was designed with skaters in mind with a unique design for the store layout: by arranging the clothes around the perimeter of the store, a large central space permitted skaters with backpacks to skate into the store and still feel comfortable. This store had its core group of skaters who served as its team in 1994, which included late actors Justin Pierce and Harold Hunter, and the first employees were extras from the Larry Clark film Kids. Jebbia explained that he opened Supreme in lower Manhattan because at the time there was nowhere else to buy skate products in the area. He focused primarily on more obscure, harder-to-find items and credited the open-mindedness of skaters with the brand's ability to take risks.
In 2004, a second location was opened on North Fairfax Ave in Los Angeles, California, which is nearly double the size of the original New York City store and features an indoor skate bowl. Other locations include Paris, which opened in 2016, London, which opened in September 2011, Tokyo (Harajuku, Daikanyama and Shibuya), Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka. The additional locations emulate the original Lafayette Street store's design; stores feature rotating art displays, and use videos and music to attract attention.
Supreme stocks its own clothing label, as well as other skateboard brands such as Vans, Nike SB, Spitfire Wheels, and Thrasher, among others. James Jebbia was quoted in saying that anything that Supreme releases will never be classified as "limited," but notes that they make short runs of their products because they "don't want to get stuck with stuff nobody wants."
The original Supreme skate team consisted of, Ryan Hickey, Justin Pierce, Gio Estevez, Paul Leung, Chris Keeffe, Jones Keeffe, Peter Bici, and Mike Hernandez. Other pro skaters, such as Harold Hunter and Jeff Pang, became associates of the company due to Supreme's roots within New York City's skate culture.
The current skate team, as of 2021, includes Aidan Mackey, Brian Anderson, Ben Kadow, Jason Dill, Sean Pablo, Na-Kel Smith, Tyshawn Jones, Mark Gonzales, Kader Sylla, Sage Elsesser, Rowan Zorilla, Seven Strong, Troy Gipson, Vince Touzery, Caleb Barnett, Kevin Bradley, Nik Stain, Kevin Rodrigues and Beatrice Domond.
Following the Paris store opening in 2016, Supreme also formed a French skate team that includes Dayanne Akadiri, Manuel Schenck, Lucien Momy, Dadoum Chabane, Damien Bulle, Victor Demonte, Valentin Jutant and Samir Krim.
We are proud to partner with Krooked Skateboards to bring together two of the most creative legends and pioneers in skateboarding: Natas Kaupas and Ray Barbee. As the embodiment of creative expression through art, music, and culture, Ray and Natas bring to life a collaboration rooted in iconic creative expression and authenticity.
As the Anti-K', her fighting style is primarily based on K's (with her sharing his One Inch being a prime example), but adapted to her ice-based powers. She also fights using her ice skates, which are able to cut easily through flesh. She has high flexibility, which allows her to kick high and with ease, so she can use her skates to their full extent. Kula is very acrobatic and agile, mostly relying on her speed and ice powers rather than brutal strength, though she still can concentrate her strength on a single hit. Some of her moves (such as One Inch Punch) can send characters as big as Chang Koehan flying across the stage. She also employs the help of her friends, Foxy, Candy and Diana, primarily the latter.
Despite all the hard work and perseverance of making the company alive to core skateboarders, corporate investors still discharged Weiss. They took everything he loved for almost two decades of his life.
It's one thing to visit Havana and instantly travel back in time, but the experience is magnified when you get to skate with some of the coolest skaters surrounded by communist history. Ultimately, this is one of the greatest parts about skating. You can go anywhere in the world and immediately find family united by a slab of wood and some rubber.
In the next 10 years, we look to continue pushing forward and growing the Cuban skate community. More female skaters, more skaters in rural provinces, an official skatepark in Havana, more DIY builds, expand upon our woodshop, increase our "city clean up" programs, and nurture and grow our relationship with the Cuban communities.
Partnerships, volunteers, and a lot of overweight baggage fees. We still can't ship to Cuba from the States because of the US-Cuba Trade Embargo. So every single skateboard, pair of shoes, etc. has been hand-delivered by volunteers and CS staff. I personally have been to Cuba 50 or more times, and each and every trip I bring a few suitcases and tons of gear.
As much as we appreciate support, we've shifted our ask to financial support. We are grateful and very lucky to have so much support from the skateboarding industry. Companies like DC Shoes, New Balance, VANS, DLXSF, Paterson, FTC, Arts-N-Rec, Familia, Prestige, Crushed, Baker, so so many brands, shops, and pros back our mission.
So we've stopped receiving used decks and products and encouraged people who want to be involved to donate financially. Here's why... we get endless product from the industry, and the cost of a skate deck is $50. Instead of having someone send a used deck, donate $50 and we can build 5 skate decks by hand in Cuba. Our goal moving forward is to achieve a 1:1 model, where for every skate deck donated by the industry, we aim to build 1 skate deck in Cuba.
Given the political climate over the past four years, and a move toward right-wing conservative politics in the US, I wanted to ask how the political situation in Cuba shapes how you work with skaters and how Cuban skaters react to their political surroundings? What has changed politically in Cuba and how have skaters benefitted or been negatively affected by those changes?
I remember when I was in Havana there was a spat of racism at one point when the cops came to harass one skater based on the fact that he was black. They accused him of being a drug-dealer. Is this still a reality in Havana when dealing with authorities?
I don't recall that situation, so I can't comment. What I will say is that there are global issues with police in regards to skateboarding and race. In Cuba, the friction with police is certainly more pacific in relation to what's happening in America.
Honestly (and humbly), we've done so much. Delivering thousands of skateboards and skateboarding materials is a huge and ongoing milestone. Creating cultural exchanges and bringing the world's best pro skaters to Cuba has been a rewarding experience not only for the pros but also for our team and participants in Cuba.
What I'm most proud of are our programs. Building a DIY park has been no easy feat, and I'm so impressed by our staff that continues to build. We repurposed an abandoned gymnasium and it's hands down one of the most remarkable DIY parks worldwide. You can ask any of the Cubans or pro skaters that's been there. And that's because of our hard work and the stewardship of volunteers who have come there to mix cement with us.
I'm equally proud of our woodshop cooperative that's been up and running for 5 years now. We began delivering power tools, a wood press, and a handful of other tools and resources to manufacture and recycle skateboards. Seeing what our staff has done at the coop is incredible.
And lastly, our recent program in "championing environmental sustainability" with local partners in Cuba and grant funding from the VF Foundation. We send staff and participants to collect waste from beaches, rivers, and city plazas. In under a year, we've collected nearly 10+ tons of waste. Beyond protecting Cuba's shorelines and creating mindfulness for recycling, the waste is sorted and recycled into "plastic lumbers," which are then made into picnic tables, benches, and other skate-able items. Our goal in the next year is to create the world's first-ever indoor, recycled plastic skatepark.
Instagram has been a great tool for Cubans to connect with the global community of skaters. In 2017, we launched a program with Airbnb as part of their "Social Impact Experiences." That's been an amazing opportunity to connect foreigners to our staff and programs in Cuba.
2 kids from Acapulco -- Chiqi (Carlos) and Robertico -- are skating on another level. It's amazing to see such young Cubans who've only been skating for a couple years, and see how them being able to access materials and support from our organization and the older Cuban skaters (who suffered from not being able to break boards, or not having the luxury of access that the youth currently enjoy) has allowed them to prosper at such a level.
I'd be remiss if I didn't shout out Orly, Ariel, Claudio, Camilo, Alberty, Reinaldo, and so many other Cuban skaters who have been skating for years now and to see them still going strong and continuing to be pioneers for the next generation.
Absolutely. 5 years ago there were hardly any females skating in Cuba. We developed partnerships with international female skaters, brought them to Cuba, hosted female-oriented programs, and continue to invest specifically in young women skaters, and they're killing it. 2b1af7f3a8