LONDON — Supreme has drawn yet another crowd, and this time it’s outside The Collection, a gallery-style store in Soho that stocks rare and limited-edition streetwear. The store, which is located two blocks from Supreme on Brewer Street, might still be under construction, but that didn’t stop shoppers from forming a line outside when the doors opened on Saturday.
By the end of the weekend, The Collection was already getting repeat customers.
Cofounder Hadley Metcalf, an avid Supreme collector, has been in the reselling business for years. As a result, he’s been able to set up a supply chain that gets him access to extremely rare and hard-to-find Supreme items.
“We’ve partnered with pretty much every collector in the U.K. at the moment, and we are pretty confident that we have the world’s biggest range of limited-edition goods for sale. Everything we have is most likely sold out in a retail store,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf and his cofounder Maomao Sun said their focus is to educate customers, and give them access to the streetwear market via merchandise, a variety of price points and exhibition-style displays.
“You can come in and buy the cheapest thing, Supreme stickers, that are 10 pounds or you can buy a toothbrush. Or you can spend 110 to 10,000 pounds. Other stores don’t touch that low end, but we want everyone to come in and enjoy the space,” Metcalf said.
They want customers who are new to the brand, and parents who are shopping for, or with their kids, to feel just as at home as die-hard Supreme fans. “We want everyone to enjoy the space, parents are coming in and not understanding the hype, so we take them around and talk about it,” he said, adding that his staff are experts in the field.
The Collection also aims to be female-friendly and the stock reflects that. The store carries accessories, leather goods, footwear and apparel with a focus on T-shirts and hoodies in all sizes and colors. Sneakers — men’s, women’s and a small selection of kids’ footwear — fill the wall on the right-hand side, with leather goods and apparel on the other.
There’s a rail of T-shirts ranging from Supreme’s signature logo ones to the Mike Kelley collaboration to a selection of Supreme x John Woo “The Killer” T-shirts. According to Metcalf, the Supreme x John Woo Ts have already been a big hit with Chinese customers.
Glass cases line the middle of the store; in one of them is a Louis Vuitton x Supreme bag and the other displays Supreme’s Photo T-shirt series shot by Terry Richardson. The selection includes a 2006 Mike Tyson T-shirt, Kate Moss and Morrissey. In the coming weeks, Metcalf will have display descriptions to complement the merch as part of the store’s educational aspect.
There’s also a display case of Supreme’s signature Box Logo hoodies in a range of colors, including “original colorways such as red on navy and red on white” and near the back is the store’s biggest draw, its North Face x Supreme offering.
“We carry extremely hard-to-find collectibles. There’s the 2008 Day Summit jacket, which we had to beg a collector to get; the really popular leopard print; and the Nuptse Sample Fur Jacket, which the brand only made one of, as it was a prototype. So, it’s the only one that exists in the world. We have it and it is essentially brand-new,” Metcalf said. The Nuptse Sample Fur Jacket is a puffer jacket that features a black, wolf-fur print.
Not only have Sun and Metcalf partnered with worldwide collectors to feed their supply chain, they have also partnered with personal shoppers to tap into the higher-end customer.
“We have a partnership with Sam Morgan, who sells to all the footballers. Every single footballer in the U.K. is on his books and all of the shoes they wear come from him,” Metcalf said.
Right now, the selection is heavily focused on Supreme, but to reach that high-end customer, the duo is planning on moving into luxury goods.
“We have the Louis Vuitton, Dior, Comme Des Garçons, and Kaws collaboration to Muppets, Sesame Street and Rimowa suitcases because that is the core market. Our goal is to move to 40 percent shoes, 40 percent Supreme and the remaining 20 percent leather goods. We also want to dedicate a section to high-end including Chanel and Rolex. We’re in talks with a Birkin (seller) who has about 150 Birkins in his warehouse already,” Metcalf said.
They may be moving into the high end, but Sun and Metcalf want to keep prices fair. They’re aiming to mark their products at a cheaper price than the retailers, yet above the resale market due to their quality and offer.
Most of their items are brand-new, yet some are in archive condition and their pricing strategy reflects that. “If you want to buy the black Box Logo hoodie, the one that’s been worn once, it’s 999 pounds, but the brand-new one, with tags, is 2,000 pounds. A lot of Asian customers will only buy new, but the rest don’t really mind, so we cater to everybody, while a lot of other stores only sell brand-new,” said Metcalf.
Their target is to match other competitors in the market, which makes a yearly estimate of 4 million to 5 million pounds, according to Metcalf.
They’re confident they will hit their target of 3 million to 4 million pounds in the first year.
The Collection’s founders plan to open a café for customers downstairs. “It’s not for generating revenue, it’s for us to show them we understand what they want. We will have limited-edition cakes and lattes with Supreme logo art, a Supreme motorbike and unreleased movie posters and a Supreme pinball machine. We’re hoping to do a monthly competition, where customers can pay 5 pounds for three plays and the highest score every month wins a 500-pounds gift card for the store,” Metcalf said.