It all started with a hat.
In its latest collection, the fashion-and-skate label Supreme released a ball cap with its name over a pleasant-looking graphic of blue sky over green pasture. Most of Supreme’s fanatical base, who will line up for hours when the brand drops new products, probably had no idea where the design inspiration came from. But one company definitely did.
Farmland Foods, a pork producer, pointed out on Twitter that the logo looked very familiar. It’s basically Farmland’s logo, with a different brand name.
Supreme has a history of pulling references into its collections from any source it finds interesting—art, film, music, whatever—without regard for the consequences. Its own logo, if you haven’t heard the story, is an unsanctioned play on the artist Barbara Kruger’s work, which prompted Kruger to reply by calling Supreme a “ridiculous clusterfuck of totally uncool jokers.” Farmland, though, took a different route in its response.
The pork company then staged a photo shoot for Instagram with, it claims in a caption, real farmers on a real farm, decked out in some Supreme pieces.
Farmland clearly has some knowledge too. “The Fall/Winter collection: for looks as crispy as our bacon,” one caption reads. “Crispy” was a term meaning something like “fresh” that came about with the brief rise of #menswear on Tumblr and menswear blogs years back. The company even incorporated some of Supreme’s cross-body bags—basically a rebranded fanny pack, and a hot item in fashion these days.
The gentle reproach made for a clever publicity stunt, getting coverage from sites such as AdWeek, Highsnobiety, and of course the site you’re reading right now. Supreme hasn’t publicly responded, but it’s probably not too upset about the attention. After all, Supreme has been known to cast some unexpected models itself.