San Francisco – Supreme is supreme when it comes to garnering brand loyalty and building hype. Gaining entry into one of the American skateboarding brand’s eleven global shops is a commitment: rain or shine, an impossibly long line outside a storefront is one of the telltale signs you’ve arrived. And as to be expected, such was the case on the eve of Supreme’s first opening in San Francisco.
Loyalists for the red-and-white logo likely found even more reason to congregate and queue, as this flagship is the brand’s largest to date. It’s the result of a collaboration between Supreme’s brand owner, London design studio Brinkworth and the Wilson Brothers. Situated squarely between San Francisco’s Civic Center and Powell Street transit stations, the shop has prime retail real estate on Market Street.
But passers-by need not (necessarily) join the line to get a peek into the 260-sq-m space, thanks to its open glass frontage. Under double-height ceilings inside, an indoor textured-lacquer skate bowl features front and centre, built from a timber exoskeleton and suspended from a mezzanine. Veteran San Franciscans will perhaps recognize the granite benches that dot the exposed-brick-and-steel interiors, custom-made to replicate seating installed in the 1990s on Market Street – then a popular area to skateboard.
Although the shop is intentionally sparsely merchandized, those who do make their way inside must share the floor with colourful, 7-ft-tall (2.1-m) sculptures from pro skater-slash-artist Mark Gonzales.