Obey vs. Supreme

Often referred to as “the poor man’s Supreme,” Obey doesn’t get much love in the sneaker community.

Regularly passed up in favor of the aforementioned outfitter of Tyler, The Creator , Obey can be found sitting on the shelves of mall mainstays Zumiez and Pac Sun in full size runs.

The pedigree of James Jebbia’s brainchild cannot be denied, after all Jebbia was partner’s with Shawn Stussy – who garnered widespread love in the surfing, skating, and hip-hop community of the late ’80s and early ’90s – in Stussy’s New York Store.

The question though is this: why is Obey looked down upon while Supreme draws crowds that are willing to stand in line for hours (sometimes even camping overnight) for the chance to purchase the latest release?

Spun off from Shepard Fairey’s famous “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign of 1989, Obey’s lineage is impressive to say the least. Fairey graduated from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and has since garnered the attention of the law and the art world alike.

Hope - Photo: Obey

Hope – Photo: Obey

While he is perhaps best known for his contribution to the 2008 Presidential Campaign – the iconic “Hope” poster featuring then senator Barack Obama, his works have been featured in the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art and the National Portrait Gallery among others.

In addition Fairey often partners with charities, donating a portion of proceeds from the sale of the collaboration. In the past, Obey has collaborated with Keep a Breast, Adopt-A-Pet, Urban Roots, Drop In The Bucket, and – most recently – Honor The Treaties, which looks to raise awareness for the rights of Native Americans to live without interference from the government on their own land; to hunt, fish and recover natural resources; and to have religious freedom among other things.

Honor The Treaties - Photo: Obey

Honor The Treaties – Photo: Obey

While Supreme has worked with artists who have been featured in big name galleries and museums, the brand itself has not. As far as charity goes, it looks like the majority of the money goes into Jebbia’s pockets – which is fine by me, I’m not a bleeding heart, “if you have money, you should give it away,” type of guy. But the things that make Obey what it has become seem more appealing. It looks as if time and effort went into designing the latest Obey offering where as Supreme seems to be content with using the work of others to further its cause.

It would be hypocritical not to disclose that I wait for Supreme releases just like everyone else does, but on any given day you’re likely to find me in my favorite Obey shirt.

Why do you prefer Supreme over Obey or vice versa? Let us know in the comments or on twitter.



About Jon

Recent graduate up to my ears in debt, beginning to dig my way out.

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