After just two seasons with Supreme, Tremaine Emory has left his role as creative director of the fashion mogul, leaving fans with the Fall/Winter 2023 collection as his last.
Neither Supreme or Emory have made any statements on the changes to the role, thus there has not been one specific reason for Emory’s leaving released to the public yet. After his appointment to creative director in February of 2022, Emory got to work right away in crafting his vision through collaborative efforts and original ideas.
The two seasonal collections that have been released by Supreme under Emory’s reign have been very well received by fans. Emory’s passion can be seen through the special aspects given to his pieces, like his collaboration with Cynthia Lu to create original art for varsity jackets, or the special collaboration with Coogi to create durags, or even his collaboration graphic tee with NBA YoungBoy.
After Supreme has seen a bit of struggle in the past few years, with revenue reportedly declining and some of the public beginning to see the brand as dead, it seemed like Emory had put a decent effort in to turn that struggle around. However, his exiting of the creative director role just two seasons after beginning does not speak wonderfully to Supreme.
Emory recently took part in an interview for a magazine where he explained the reality of the fashion industry and the importance of seeking community validation instead of corporate validation. He told interviewer that “I would caution kids who care about the validation of these big conglomerates and media giants because these conglomerates are banks . . . This is late- stage capitalism. These institutions will finance a designer, an artist, a band, a director, a writer or whatever to make something to get more money than what they put in. That’s what it’s about for them . . . If you seek their validation because so and so made you creative director, you’re losing. In fact, you’ve already lost. But if you seek validation, firstly, in yourself and secondly, in the community that you care about and who cares about you, you’ve got a chance to live a life without regrets.”
Could this interview give fans insight into Emory’s leaving Supreme? It seems possible, based on this interview response, that Emory did not find as much joy designing for such a large conglomerate as much as he does for his own company, Denim Tears. Denim Tears has been around for 4 years now, leaving its mark on the fashion industry with its unique expression of the African community.
In a different interview in 2020, Emory told a reporter that he likes to see Denim Tears “as Supreme for Black people and anyone else who wants to celebrate or commemorate what we’ve been through.” He said the pieces made by Denim Tears are like “using T-shirts as billboards for knowledge and expression.”
It seems most likely that Emory has left Supreme in order to focus on Denim Tears. With comments made about fashion conglomerates and losing when you fight for a company’s validation, it’s possible that Emory wasn’t having quite as much fun at Supreme as his work may have made fans think.