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Sneaker Culture Reigns Supreme

Sneaker resellers Christopher Gutierrez (left) and Christopher Mercado (right). PHOTO/ Ivan Morrobel
Sneaker resellers Christopher Gutierrez (left) and Christopher Mercado (right). PHOTO/ Ivan Morrobel

By Ivan Morrobel

Published: March 14th, 2018

The era of simply walking into a retail store to purchase clothes and sneakers of great value has been replaced by first-come, first-served raffles, reservations, and resellers who acquire certain products for the sole purpose of making a profit.

“There’s always that one item that everybody wants, and they’ll pay whatever,” 22-year-old Christopher Mercado said.

Brands such as Nike, Nike’s Jordan Brand, Adidas, A Bathing Ape (Bape), and Supreme are the hottest brands among street wear today. Supreme, which was established in 1994 by James Jebbia in New York City, was originally meant to cater to skaters. However, the brand has gained major notoriety over the years and has a total of 11 locations worldwide (New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Japan).

Despite Supreme’s popularity, the brand is secretive and strict with everything that doesn’t involve their products. In fact, those who are lucky enough to win a reservation at the New York locations are forced to stand in line several blocks away from where the store is located before they’re given the opportunity to browse. But the chances of securing a reservation via Supreme’s website are slim.

“You have to sign up prior to the drop. The link that Supreme sends out sometimes gets overcrowded,” 18-year-old Kenneth Toledo said when he explained why he’s missed out before.

Supreme also gives its customers the chance to purchase products through their website instead of having to line up, but even those products sell out faster than the speed of light.    

Like most street wear brands, Supreme sells its products at reasonable prices that the public can afford, but the exclusivity of the brand’s items is what causes the prices to skyrocket on the resell market. Among the items that sell for an immense amount of money are the famously known box-logo sweatshirts and tees, and collaborations with other brands such as Louis Vuitton and The North Face, which can cost a buyer thousands of dollars if they’re desperately in need and are willing to pay resell value.

Toledo, who started buying Supreme products for retail during the brand’s Fall/Winter 2017 collection, made his biggest profit just a few months ago.

“I bought The North Face jacket for $400 and I sold it for $1,100. I made a $700 profit and after that, I knew this was serious,” he said.

As dreadful as it is for someone to have to pay double the original price, reselling has become a norm for many who are able to sell on a regular basis.

“I’m a full-time student at Hunter College and I had a job, but I didn’t really like it. Supreme is something that I like, and I can buy the pieces that I want and if I have extras or leftovers, I can sell it and make some profit,” Mercado, a medical lab sciences major, said.

Today, there are a ton of pages on social media and websites that can help with release dates and prices. StockX, the stock market to buy and sell dead-stock sneakers and street wear, has rapidly become the go-to for resellers. Toledo and Mercado, along with 22-year-old Christopher Gutierrez, have taken full advantage of the items that sell for such exorbitant prices by creating their own Instagram page, @bogo_boyz.

According to Instagram, the three men published their first post on February 11, 2018, and have gained more than 3,000 followers since.

“We definitely see it growing. Anything we post on there, for the most part, it sells, or people have high interest,” Gutierrez said.

Every street wear brand has high and low periods, and Supreme is at its highest peak. And while becoming a reseller can have its pros and cons for anyone who has done the objective before, Toledo admits that the hype will eventually come to an end as everyone finds the next wave.

“Supreme will eventually die out. This is a hobby,” he said.  

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