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Tremaine Emory parting ways with global streetwear brand Supreme and citing “systemic racism” has led to many surprised reactions online over the move and his reasoning.
The popular designer left his position as creative director of Supreme after only being there for a year and a half, claiming in his resignation letter that “systemic racism was at play within the structure of Supreme.” Emory elaborated further on his decision in an Instagram post, revealing that part of the motivation for him to leave was how the senior management had handled a collaboration with Arthur Jafa, a Black artist whose work at times conveys the violence of slavery. The marketing for that collaboration had been meant to include “the depiction of Black men being hung and the freed slave Gordon pictured with his whip lashes on his back,” (referencing the historical image of the formerly enslaved man “Whipped Peter” )which was dropped by the management.
The situation has caused a stir for many who have followed Tremaine Emory’s career as the founder of Denim Tears and as a former collaborator with the late Virgil Abloh and former friend and collaborator of Ye aka Kanye West before a severe falling out a few months ago. Some reactions online saw the situation as puzzling, questioning Emory’s aim of using imagery linked to slavery.
There were also those who questioned Emory’s choice to post an image on his social media accounts of the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Race by Robin DiAngelo—a book on antiracism that many have criticized for actually marginalizing the viewpoints of Black people. Emory recommended that Supreme staff read the book during his tenure.
Others took the opportunity to skewer Supreme for what some consider another example of appropriation by the streetwear brand to appeal to a predominately white audience. Here, we’ve gathered a few of the more notable online reactions from X, formerly known as Twitter, for you to review.
2. Connor Garel
The current Writer In Residence at literary magazine The Walrus raises a query on Emory potentially needing deeper self-reflection.
This Twitter user called Emory out for his usage of DiAngelo’s book as a way to solidify his points over resigning.
This creative personality called Emory out for the planned use of Jafa’s artwork by Emory as “trauma porn”.
6. Derek Guy
The menswear writer opined on how it was “kind of crazy” to consider how the planned campaign and collaboration would’ve been received if it went ahead.
7. Blessed Spice
This Twitter user took Guy’s point even further and questioned Emory’s reasoning in seemingly wanting to fight for the imagery to be used.
8. Shelton Boyd-Griffith
The former fashion editor of Essence Magazine raised some very good points about Emory and Supreme in a thread, beginning with this post.