es featuring the artist’s work. However, it is probably Supreme that continues to be the winning brand in choosing the right artists to feature. Ranging from soul music legends, a photographer known to capture the underground scene, a hip-hop group that rebelled against society, and to a British filmmaking genius, Supreme never fails to astound the world when it comes their boundless search and selection of artists of all ages and background. In 2018 alone, Supreme worked with more than 10 different artists, and had the world raving with all its collections successfully selling out in seconds. It is needless to say that Supreme’s artist collaborations have fashion gurus all over the world longing for its release. There is one problem to this phenomenon though: every time an artist collaboration is released, most people do not know much about the featured artist, with the rarity of the items or visuals being more important to them. This ruins Supreme’s effort in selecting the unique cream of the crop. It is simply a waste to wear something without knowing the brand’s intention, and it is not too late to gain this understanding. Here we will look at artists that Supreme featured in the last year, and focus on their career background and styles. This way we think that you will grow a better attachment to that beloved piece you own.
The most recent artist collaboration is the capsule collection that was released last December, which featured Marvin Gaye’s cover art from his album “What’s going On?” Marvin Gaye is an American legend that any music advocate would know.
In 1939, Gaye was born in Washington D.C., and was the son of a conservatively strict church minister father. Gaye was exposed to music at an early age while he grew up singing in his local church’s choir, and learning the drums and piano at the same time. After nomadically playing in different bands to gain experience, Motown Records was impressed by his talent, and Gaye began his career as a solo singer. After the success of performing series of duets with Tammi Terrell, he released many hit numbers, including 1969’s “I Heard Through the Grapevine.” What seemed to be a smooth sailing career momentarily came to an end after Terrell’s tragic death. In addition to being heartbroken from the loss, Gaye started to question his own musical style, but successfully made a comeback after reuniting with his brother that returned from the Vietnam War. Inspired by how unjust the society is, Gaye demonstrated a new musical style through the release of a conceptual album titled “What’s Going On?”
From the famous anti-war anthem that is also the title track, the album delves in to controversial issues in America such as poverty, police brutality, drug abuse, child abandonment, urban decadence, and unsystematic society. It not only succeeded in sales but also became an inspiration for musicians of later generations.
Jim Hendin, who specialized in Motown’s photography was the photographer for the album cover that captured Gaye under the rain, looking far out in the distance. The back cover shows Gaye’s full-body portrait, where he is wearing a long black coat with a yellow shirt underneath: a black coat like what was worn by Richard Roundtree in “Shaft” and Samuel L. Jackson in “Avengers”. Although people marvel at Gaye for his musical talent, his flamboyant suits that he rocked on stage and unique fashion that he wore off the stage are also worth paying attention to.
After the release of “What’s Going on?” Gaye continued to release hits like “Let’s Get It On” and “I Want You”, until one day in 1984, he was fatally shot by his own father when he was trying to be a middle man between his parents’ quarrel. Ironically, this was the day before Gaye’s 45th birthday, and the gun that his father used was actually a gift from him to his son. Gaye tragically ended his life after being killed by his minister father. To this day, Gaye’s musical legacy shines on. That is proven by how an international brand like Supreme decided to feature Gaye even 50 years after his album’s release, and 40 years after his death. Why did Supreme choose to do the collaboration at this timing? That is of course because Gaye’s work remains to be the epitome of black music today, while Supreme’s message is to have people listen to Gaye’s voice at a time like this when Trump’s presidency is darkening the shadows of America.
Text_ LUDO OSHIKAWA