The Tremaine Emory era at Supreme is officially over. After rumors of the creative director’s departure started bubbling recently, it has now been confirmed that he’s left the famed streetwear brand, but apparently not under amicable circumstances.
The Business of Fashion has confirmed, after seeing his resignation letter, that the Denim Tears founder is exiting and alleging that his leaving due to “systemic racism.” Apparently an in limbo (depending on who you ask) collaboration with Black artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa was the impetus for Emory calling it quits.
According to the resignation letter seen by BoF, Emory’s decision to leave was due to senior management’s “inability to communicate” with him why the “cancellation” of a collaboration with major Black American artist Arthur Jafa occurred. Emory also claims that they were unable to give him “full visibility for the reasons behind it.” He added, “This caused me a great amount of distress as well as the belief that systematic racism was at play within the structure of Supreme.” In response to this claim, Supreme said that the collaboration has not been canceled, though it has yet to be released.
Emory was appointed Supreme’s Creative Director, the brand’s first, in early 2022. Team Box Logo denies Emory’s assertions of systemic racism.
“While we take these concerns seriously, we strongly disagree with Tremaine’s characterisation of our company and the handling of the Arthur Jafa project, which has not been cancelled,” reads the statements to BoF. “This was the first time in 30 years where the company brought in a creative director. We are disappointed it did not work out with Tremaine and wish him the best of luck going forward.”
Emory is clearly a person who will speak his piece. Last year, he publicly got into a back and forth with Kanye West over the late Virgil Abloh. On Friday (Aug. 31) Emory, who says he actually left Supreme weeks ago, took to Instagram to further share his side of the story, and he’s pulling no punches, including citing a lack of diversity.
“So over the last few weeks after resigning I fought tooth and nail into the 25th hour with c suite of supreme to align with them on a statement to the press explaining that l left supreme because of systemic racial issues the company has from the treatment of the arthur jafa collab to the make up of the design studio that has less than 10% minorities working when the brand is largely based off black culture,” wrote Emory in a caption of a screen cap of outlet Complex Style seeking comment on his departure. “ask @juliencahn @kyledem and Alex detrich…they were all on the text messages and kyle was on the calls until I told him I can’t align on a statement that doesn’t cite systemic racism…kyle said we will call you back on Tuesday night and y’all never did so it’s tragically ironic y’all three left me “hanging” @kyledem on that call you said we want you to tell your story with us “ your the best story teller I know” well y’all gonna get a story…”
This story is developing.