Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me—and that happened this morning, with news that Supreme is dropping a Shrek T-shirt. The world has rolled me.
Monday morning, Supreme released a preview of its fall/winter 2021 collection, and the internet was quick to pick up on one new design in particular: a tee featuring the logo from the animated movie Shrek, reworked to spell out “Supreme” (with Shrek’s little ogre ears on the S and all). Some said the design, which also appears on a few knitted beanies and a trio of skate decks, is the best thing Supreme’s done in years. But it’s also undeniably…weird. Supreme has perfected its niche reference formula; Shrek is a large pop culture entity. How did this happen?
Streetwear, like onions and ogres, has layers. To keep churning out highly covetable styles with each new drop, Supreme builds up a teetering stack of reference upon reference, collaboration upon collaboration, to tap into our “Buy Now”-happy psyches. In many ways, Shrek is sort of a perfect fit for this formula: the 2001 Dreamworks classic (not a word to be used lightly, though I think it fits here) was way ahead of its time in terms of its meme-ability and referential humor, and as its then-young viewers came of age online, jokes from the movie found new life online, reborn via the digital gallows humor that informs many a forum, Vine, and comment section. There’s levels to this.
There is already a bit of discussion about the fact that the Supreme x Shrek logo tee looks unusually similar to a shirt that Dime—a smaller, Montreal-based skate brand—released back in 2019. Even for a streetwear juggernaut like Supreme, are there only so many references in the pop culture landscape that’ll get LOLs rolling through the group chats and wallets opening? Do we have a David vs. Goliath streetwear schism on our hands? (On that note, when is the David x Goliath collab dropping?) However, there’s been no public word from either camp yet on the similarities.
Maybe all’s fair in love and the streetwear marketplace. After all: what’s a fairy tale without an underdog?