Pills and Bricks

Exploring the theme of drugs in Supreme

Supreme, AKIRA and Damien Hirst

Pill boxes and spot paintings

It is no secret that if you look closely enough at Supreme accessories and apparel, you will find some connotation to drugs, films or violence – think crowbars, pill boxes and most recently, Scarface.

With the just-announced Supreme/AKIRA collaboration, due to release this Thursday 2nd November, TeamSlayer has decided to explore drug references in current and previous seasons. The AKIRA capsule itself is filled with original artwork by Katsuhiro Otomo from the Japanese manga series with a Neo-Tokyo focal point where drug use is rife within the society; this is reflected in the items presented for the collection which include jackets, tees and sweatshirts with drug use graphics.

The accessories are labelled as a ‘Pill Plate’ with the graphic showing a character with a Supreme pill on their tongue and a speech bubble saying “They’re just like candy,” whilst the second accessory is advertised as a ‘Syringe Tray’ and features one character injecting another in the arm.

If you go back through previous seasons, a collaboration with Damien Hirst in November 2009 saw a release of five individually designed decks featuring his iconic spot patterns. These famous spot paintings are also known as ‘The Pharmaceutical Paintings,’ which include ‘Controlled Substances’ amongst others. One of the decks (pictured) features both a cylindrical pill and a round pill, perhaps alluding to Hirst’s passion for combining art and medicine; indeed one of Hirst’s most famous installations is entitled Pharmacy, an image which represents a drug-dependant world.

Perhaps one of the most obvious references to drugs in Supreme’s very long list of released accessories is the Weekday Pillbox released during Spring/Summer 2015. The 7-day pillbox organiser featured Supreme lettering across the top. Supreme also released a ‘Pills’ shirt and Pill Tray during last seasons collection, featuring graphics of various brightly coloured pills with the supreme logo across some of them.

The infamous Supreme brick

Brick: A pound or kilogram of any drug

The Supreme brick retailed at $30 last Fall/Winter season and, as one of the most hyped items, sold out in seconds. Many theories surrounded why Supreme would release an actual baked red clay brick featuring their logo, but none have ever been confirmed by Supreme themselves.

One theory surrounding the Supreme brick is that it is based off the drug ‘red supreme,’ usually suspected to be MDMA or Molly, or like the above title, a subtle reference to a brick being a pound or kilogram of any drug.

There are plenty more subtle and not-so-subtle references to drugs over the years within Supreme apparel and accessories, including a Sugar Rush tee, a Quaalade tee, Snow White images on shirts, decks and tees, various lighters, ashtrays and roach clips.

Disclaimer: TeamSlayer does not advocate or endorse the use of drugs. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Supreme.