James Jebbia Addresses Supreme Italia for the First Time in Rare Interview
The shady world of Supreme Italia, the “other Supreme,” has become the subject of another lengthy examination. Not long after CNN published a deep dive into the brand and its manufacture of “legal fakes,” The Business of Fashion has followed suit, including a rare discussion with Supreme founder James Jebbia.
Dissecting the legalities that explain how Supreme Italia (aka Supreme Spain, aka International Brand Firm (IBF), aka the biggest pain in Supreme NYC’s ass) is able to globally tout counterfeit Supreme and open “Supreme” stores is a complex task.
As Highsnobiety’s own lawyer explained last year, it’s all to do with a specific country’s trademark registrations. IBF has been able to operate under Supreme Italia or Supreme Spain by registering in Spain and Italy before the OG Supreme did, making its products technically legal while still fakes.
“I don’t think another company has really had to deal with this like we have,” Jebbia told BoF, before referencing how Supreme Italia had fooled Samsung China into thinking a project they were working on together was a genuine Supreme collaboration.
“This is a whole new level with this criminal enterprise — these complete imposters and impersonators,” Jebbia said. “This is a company that was able to convince one of the biggest companies in the world that they are the real thing.”
Jebbia continued, “People should know that the idea of legal fakes is a complete farce. It would be sad if a new generation thinks that’s actually legit. We don’t do a ton of press and we are quite quiet. These guys are taking full advantage of that… We haven’t had the time to basically go on this massive disinformation tirade or press thing that most people would.”
Of course, Jebbia and Supreme aren’t taking all of this lying down. Supreme general counsel Darci J. Bailey, who is in charge of the company’s worldwide trademark registrations (now up to 350 filings) and anti-counterfeit strategy, said, “There is not a jurisdiction in the world that’s said what [IBF is] doing is lawful. Opening stores is only going to yield a bigger victory once we are able to shut those down.”
Jebbia added, “We are doing every single thing that we can do to stop [IBF] and I think we are going to prevail. I don’t think of it any differently today than I did 20 years ago. We’ve still got to make great products that hopefully people like and sell well. All we can do is go on instinct.”
Read the full The Business of Fashion report here.