Tremaine Emory Departs Supreme Due to “Systematic Racism”

Tremaine Emory has officially left his role as creative director of Supreme.

Emory, who officially joined Supreme back in 2022 shortly after VF Corp acquired the company for $2.1 billion, stated his reasons for leaving in a leaked letter of resignation first reported on by BoF. In it, he questioned Supreme senior management’s “inability to communicate.”

Emory cited the behind-the-scenes cancellation of a planned Supreme collaboration with artist Arthur Jafa as indicative of these problems.

Emory’s letter also notes that Supreme higher-ups were unable to offer “full visibility for the reasons behind” canceling the Jafa collab, which caused “a great amount of distress as well as the belief that systematic racism was at play within the structure of Supreme.”

Tremaine Emory was Supreme’s first-ever Creative Director. Predecessors — Angele Baque, Brendon Babenzien, Max Vanderwoude Gross — held the title of Artistic Director during their time at Supreme.

Following the confirmation of Emory’s departure and the leaked contents of his resignation letter, Supreme released the following statement:

“While we take these concerns seriously, we strongly disagree with Tremaine’s characterization of our company and the handling of the Arthur Jafa project, which has not been cancelled. 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.”

Highsnobiety has reached out to Supreme for further comment.

The news of Tremaine Emory’s departure and allegations comes during a busy spell for Supreme.

Following the reveal of its Fall/Winter 2023 collection in late August, the New York label recently confirmed its Nike Dunk collab, inspired by pioneering visual artist Rammellzee, amidst rumors of an MF DOOM collection and the opening of Supreme’s new Seoul store. Buzzy tennis player Carlos Alcaraz even previewed Supreme’s next Nike team-up.

Rumors of Tremaine Emory’s desire to leave Supreme began swirling in earnest by early August, as Emory uploaded enigmatic Instagram Stories that never called out Supreme by name.

Emory also removed any mention of Supreme from his Instagram bio in the weeks preceding his departure from the company.

Further, in a recent interview, Emory described both disdain for fashion’s exclusionary tendencies and the circumstances around a recent health scare, an aneurysm, that left Emory with “a 5 percent chance of living.”

The fact of the matter is that Emory’s focus will remain entirely on his own label, Denim Tears — which recently celebrated its fourth anniversary — and his consulting work, which has brought him in touch with everyone from Stüssy to Dior.