In 2014, James Bogart bought his first T-shirt from the cult US streetwear brand Supreme. In the six years since, he has acquired every single retail-released tee sporting the label’s iconic box logo — a collection now expected to sell for around $2 million.
Bogart’s Box Logo Collection will be presented as a private sale alongside an online auction of other rare Supreme items at Christie’s in New York. The collection, described by the auction house as a “holy grail” for Supreme fans and collectors, contains 253 different shirts released between 1994 to 2020 — the entire course of the brand’s history.
Supreme’s brand and more recent fame have been built through social media hype and scarcity. Its clothes can only be bought online or through a network of just 12 stores worldwide — meaning the items are highly coveted, can go for exorbitant prices and often attract long lines of customers waiting overnight to buy them.
Bogart’s collection, which is considered the first complete archive of Supreme tees to ever exist, contains many items that are impossible to find, even in the secondary market, said Christie’s in a press release.
The Box Logo Collection contains 253 shirts spanning Supreme’s entire brand history. Credit: Christie’s
“By the time 2015 rolled around, I had developed a strong interest in the brand, picking up the releases I liked as they dropped. I’ve still got many of those initial purchases in my collection today,” said Bogart on a website created for the collection.
“From that point on, my interest grew into an obsession, and (I) started adding to my collection as often as I could, always looking for the best condition examples I could find… A lot of people don’t think about the non-stop weeks, months, and even years of research and work that it can take to find just one tee.”
The T-shirts in Bogart’s collection feature color and design variations of what is arguably the brand’s most valuable asset: its simple logo, a red rectangle marked with the word “Supreme” that fashion platform Lyst crowned the industry’s most powerful logo in 2018. The collection includes early editions, such as four T-shirts that feature a smaller Box Logo design — released in 1995.
The 1999 Supreme x WTAPS box logo t-shirt, one of the label’s rarest items. Credit: Christie’s
Another valuable item is a shirt made in collaboration with Japanese streetwear brand WTAPS and released in 1999. It is believed that only about 30 pieces were printed, according to Bogart — which would make it one of the rarest Supreme designs. On Grailed, an online luxury marketplace, the shirt is listed at $12,800.
Supreme started as a humble Lower Manhattan skate store, opened by British-American entrepreneur James Jebbia in 1994. It has since grown into one of the most sought-after brands in fashion, boasting collaborations with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Nike and Timberland.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Vans owner VF Corp. was buying the brand for $2.1 billion.
Supreme has famously perfected a sales tactic known as the “drop” — releasing a limited quantity of new clothes on a weekly basis, rather than an entire new collection every season. The strategy, now widely replicated by traditional fashion brands, prompted long lines at stores and fueled online resale marketplaces where prices skyrocketed.
The brand’s Barbara Kruger-inspired logo is so revered it can turn almost anything into a collector’s item. Supreme’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection included a branded water gun, a coffee maker, a drum kit, a snorkeling mask and even Band-Aids. When the New York Post ran a Supreme cover ad in August 2018, newsstands sold out of the paper by early morning.
A skateboard collaboration between Supreme and Louis Vuitton. Credit: Christie’s
Aside from the Box Logo Collection, Christie’s is also putting a number of other Supreme items up for sale. Its “Behind The Box: 1994-2020” auction, which opens to bidders December 1, includes objects like Supreme bicycles, motorcycles and a limited-edition pinball machine that is expected to fetch up to $30,000.