honeyee: James Jebbia Interview
In conjunction with honeyee, Supreme founder James Jebbia goes on the record regarding Supreme’s most recent footwear project on the Nike Supreme 94. Some of the topics covered include its conceptualization, the colors chosen and a foreshadowing of some upcoming models also set to release in vibrant colors?
It should be noted that the project with Nike this time is different from ones that you did with them before. The Nike Supreme 94 had designed and developed by Supreme from scratch. How and when did this project come to realization? In the course of pursuing this project, were there anything in particular that you stick to and/or had a hard time with?
We have been working with Nike SB on a new sneaker every 18 months or so for 10 years now, after the last one that we did which was the Bruin in 2008 we started thinking what model we would like to work with next & everything we brought up seemed a bit forced, so we asked Nike if they might be open to letting us work on our own model, there were cool enough to give us the go-ahead & Luke Meier the designer started working on them around February 2009. Ideally we wanted to make a sneaker that we felt worked well with out identity & was versatile.
How did you choose materials and colorways for the Nike 94? Compared with other models released in the past, these look more mature in a way. Any particular reason?
We wanted to work with Foamposite, it’s a great material rarely been used outside of basketball sneakers, in terms of the colors we wanted to go classic ont eh first go round & make it more about the sneaker itself, you will be seeing a few more vibrant colors coming out sometime next year.
It seems that the silhouette of the apparel line has became slightly fitted in recent years. The change like this influences the development of the footwear?
Our Look has never been baggy, we have always had a pretty clean & simple aesthetic, whatever we are working on though, be it a jacket, a shirt, pair of pants or a sneaker we always approach things the same. We talk things over with our crew & see how they want to wear things right now & what they are sick of seeing & take it from there, if the cooler heads are sitting around wearing good fitting shirts we take it as a given that’s what we should be concentrating on more so than say sweatshirts, we try & adjust subtly, naturally & in our own way to what we observe around us & also try & introduce new things that our customers have not seen before, for us a lof of stuff out right now is looking very boring & cliched, fuck that, we like to see more attitude & rebellion.
Are you targeting these sneakers for particular crowd? Or please tell us what type of styling do you think it would go well with them?
No particular crowd, anyone really who likes sneakers & wants something a little different, if you like them, great, if not, no problem.
Supreme had worked on collaborative projects with Nike and every time you released a new model, its exceeded fan’s expectations. What does the project with Nike mean to you?
It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to do a silhouette of our own with a great brand like Nike & be part of he development process form start to finish, it’s a long & complicated process that needs constant attention to the smallest detail, we learned a lot from it, it’s still done pretty old school, there are no short cuts.
Supreme has worked on a collaborative project with companies like Vans, Padmore & Barnes, and etc., to make footwear. What do you have in mind when you decide to do a collaboration with other company?
We simply try & make good products that we feel people will like & don’t put boundaries on what or who we can work with, if we feel that Wallabee’s are a good look right now & fit into our aesthetic but we can’t find the ones we really want or they are not being seen or shown right for our crowd, and Padmore & Barnes make the very best Wallabee’s we will approach them & see if we can work together but if it’s something that we can make just as good or better by ourselves we will go that route.
What is the appeal in Nike?
They make the best sneakers in the world & are willing to take chances & risks, a lot of bigger companies play it very safe, will only make something if it’s been proven already. I have found Nike to always be open to new things, that’s why they are leaders & not followers.
Would you like to develop another original footwear with Nike in the future? If you have an opportunity, what type of footwear you would like to create?
Have not thought about this, we are still working on the current model.