In the lead up to my personal collection being sold on The Idle Man, I speak to some of the most prolific Supreme collectors around the world for a series of interviews. Today is the turn of British collector Mark Mildenhall.
Name: Mark Mildenhall
Location: United Kingdom
Instagram handle: @mark_mildenhall
When did you first hear about Supreme and what first got you interested in the brand?
The first time I heard or saw the brand was in 2011 when Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean were wearing quite a lot of it. I knew nothing about the brand or how/where to buy it from, but I wanted some items. What got me interested was the red on white Box Logo - I just liked how simple it was, not loud or in your face, just a simple red box with Supreme written in the middle.
Did you consciously start collecting Supreme or did you just find yourself with a large amount of stuff?
I had quite a few items in 2014 within the first three years of knowing about the brand. I managed to buy quite a bit online back when it was easier to purchase from the webstore. Some items would sit for a few hours, but now its completely different and most things sell out in seconds!
I would say at end of 2015 is when I really started buying Supreme heavily and before I knew it I had boxes on boxes of Supreme. Luckily I got a lot of my stuff before the hype really started to get crazy - I just wish I’d bought a ton of Box Logos, The North Face jackets and skate decks before the prices went crazy!
What is it about the brand you like so much?
I like the exclusivity of the brand the most and how they only make a small number of items, with no restocks. I think I read once in an article that someone from Supreme said “if we made 500 tees and I knew they will sell out, we would only make 200”. This just leaves people wanting more and more and no other retailers do this.
The collectability side also plays a big part in why I like the brand. It’s hard to explain but its more of a hobby collecting the really old and rare Supreme items. The T-shirts are really the items that got me into Supreme and they have done some really great graphics over the years. I would say the photo tees is what made Supreme different from every other brand - I mean who thought to have Raekwon, his bodyguard holding a machine gun and Elmo from Sesame Street all in one photo!
If you like a certain product do you sometimes buy multiple colour variations?
Yes, haha I’ve had doubles, triples and even quadruples in some of my favourite items such as the JFK tee, Snow White long sleeve, Illegal Business tee, Central Park crew neck sweatshirt and the list goes on and on. My favourite set that took a very, very long time to complete was the Supreme Mickey Mouse tee in all five colourways…I think it took around two years to find all five.
I don't really know why I like sets, I just like to buy/collect what I'm feeling really.
What lengths have you gone to acquire a certain product from Supreme?
I haven't really gone to any crazy lengths to get my items. I just tend to buy through the social media sites and from the Supreme web store. I don't throw my money at items and pay them crazy prices though. If you're patient and wait, you can still pick up some rare items for good prices.
How have you sourced the majority of your collection?
Pretty much all of my Supreme purchases have been through social media sites and selling platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, eBay etc.
Before the hype started to kick in you could buy so much on the Facebook sales groups for the low. I’ve literally bought from all around the world and I'm amazed how Supreme ends up in some countries. I got quite a few of my really old tees from the ‘90s from older skater guys from Italy and Denmark. I feel like theres guys out there now who are in their 40s (maybe 50s) who have a ton of the old Supreme at there parents house and haven't got a clue how much it's worth!
What are some favourite picks from your collection?
I really like items which have a good story to them like the recalled “Nomads” tee from 2001. Basically Supreme ripped of the Hells Angels logo and just put Supreme above it. I’ve heard a few different stories about how the Hells Angels reacted to this and let's just say the tees didn't last long on the shelves in the store. From what I know, I’ve only seen five of them floating around in the UK - I know you have at least one!
The Illegal business tee is a good one as its a real guy wearing a Supreme Box Logo tee getting arrested. I also like the S wing Stadium jacket which is an exact copy of the Ralph Lauren P wing jacket. For the crewnecks, the Central Park track club is my favourite. You cant find them for sale anywhere in the U.K. and its a very low-key classic Supreme item.
For the decks, I would say my Damien Hirst and George Condo ones are probably my top two favourites and I will probably keep them forever as they are basically classed as art now.
Accessory wise its probably going to be the small box of matches from 2002. Nothing special about the item but its just something you don't see every day. I also have two really old rare tees from the ‘90s - one Classic Logo from 1995 and the 1997 Apple tee.
What are your thoughts on "Instagram collectors" who seem to flip their grails a week later?
I think Instagram is the best social media platform to show off your Supreme items and connect with other people who like Supreme around the world. I think the word “grail” though has been used out of context for a while now. People now seem to have a different “grail” every week and the “grail” they managed to buy last month is now up for sale!
If you could go back in time to any era of Supreme in the past 23 years what would you pick up to add to your collection?
I would love to go back to 1994 on the first day they opened and buy one of each item. I know only one person who has all four of the original store open tees. Just seeing the tees brand new on the shelves would be so strange to see.
What do you think of my decision to exhibit and sell off a large portion of my personal collection on The Idle Man?
I think what you're doing is great! You have been into Supreme since the ‘90s and have been there when they only had one store in NY with a small customers base. Now they are a powerhouse company with multiple stores around the world and where people are willing to drop thousands of pounds with no hesitation. The way in which you are selling your items is probably the fairest way of doing it as it gives everyone a chance to buy something. I'm looking forward to seeing whats for sale and probably going to grab a few things myself.
Ross Wilson’s Supreme Archive will be available to purchase exclusively on The Idle Man from Thursday 1st February 2018. To access the sale please register your interest at the link below.
An exhibition of collection highlights will be open for public viewing at The Idle Man, 97 Leather Lane, London EC1N 7TS on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd February. Admission is free and will be open from 11am - 7pm.