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Quiet Luxury vs Streetwear: Does Supreme's $38.4 Mil Decline Signal The End of an Era?

by Tiyanna Mistry

Founded by James Jebbia in New York City, Supreme is a fashion brand that has long reigned as a youth culture and streetwear champion. 

However, with recent figures showing a significant decline in the brand’s revenue and profits, the streetwear mogul may not be as culturally significant as it once was.

According to a report by Supreme’s parent company, VF Corp, the American fashion brand’s recent fiscal year ending March 2023 reported revenues of $523.1 million USD. 

This marked a $38.4 million USD decrease from the year prior indicating a significant shift in the streetwear market and Supreme’s popularity in the fashion world.

Despite its near thirty year history, in this decline, it appears Gen-Z have moved away from streetwear and turned their attention to ‘quiet luxury’, signalling a mass change in Gen-Z fashion trends.


What is Quiet Luxury?

Quiet luxury is best defined as pared-back minimalism that whispers high-end and luxury fashion rather than screaming it. 

It revolves around the notion that you don’t need opulence or flamboyance to exude luxury. Instead, luxury and wealth are exuded through a minimalistic fashion presence where less is more, and flashy logos aren’t always prominently displayed.

There are stark differences between streetwear and quiet luxury, with the former emphasising urban core fashion whilst the latter exudes a chic and wealthy spectre.

Gen-Z has even taken quiet luxury inspiration from Gwyneth Paltrow’s style in the courtroom from her recent ski accident trial. 

The quiet and simplistic wardrobe choices during this trial had Gen-Z in awe. The prices of her clothing, however, were anything but quiet as she was photographed wearing Caddis Scout sunglasses, Celine lace-up boots, and a Prada Polo cashmere shirt, amongst various other minimalist, designer fashion pieces.

However, in a cost-of-living crisis, is quiet luxury really the most cost-effective style choice for Gen-Z?

Many individuals wanting more cost-effective clothing have therefore turned their attention to shopping in charity shops to find these luxury brands at a cheaper price or have even sought to buy fashion dupes. 

Therefore, a quiet luxury style is still able to be achieved - but on a budget.


What does this mean for Streetwear and Supreme?

With an increase in TikTok fashion aesthetics like quiet luxury and minimalistic looks, made popular by creators like Sofia Richie, this could signal the decline in streetwear’s popularity.

As previously mentioned, Supreme is a brand that has consistently been one of the main and most popular players in the Streetwear fashion scene. 

With past drops, of somewhat random items, featuring a Supreme x Coleman Mini Bike, Supreme x Everlast Punch Bag, Supreme x Damien Hirst Skate Decks and more each worth thousands due to their rarity - their ability to collaborate to create interesting and fresh products has more than earned their reputation. 

Although, recent figures obviously indicate the dwindling appetite for the brand.

Supreme is a brand with unique business features including their weekly and limited clothing drops that are fed directly to their consumer channels. 

Perhaps, however, is this unique feature that once made the brand so special now be the cause of its detriment?

Known for their OTT branding, with accessories like nunchucks, baseball bats, and even a step ladder having all sold for thousands due to being plastered in their iconic red and white branding, they are the antithesis of ‘quiet luxury’. 

Consequently, Gen-Z is diverting their attention to different brands to find their streetwear and thus being introduced to different styles of clothing that are trending amongst these brands.

Urban Outfitters, for example, are a key player in high-street streetwear, however, the brand also sells minimalistic fashion pieces as well as grunge and bohemian inspired items too. 

This means consumers have a variety of different styles to choose from, as opposed to a singular fashion aesthetic or style. 

Though Supreme’s popularity is under threat, streetwear will continually remain a prominent style that holds significant relevance in the fashion world. 

The same cannot be said however of Supreme’s position as a Streetwear mogul in the fashion industry as its profits and popularity remain on the decline.

Edited by Emily Duff


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