On Thursday, Tremaine Emory stepped down as the creative director at the iconic skate fashion brand. Nothing out of the ordinary, creative directors move on from brands all the time.
Except, shortly after the news was announced, Emory spoke on the matter in two lengthy Instagram posts, where he accused the respected skate brand of “systemic racism” and ruining his upcoming collaboration with accomplished filmmaker Arthur Jafa.
In one post he claimed that superiors at Supreme were unwilling to publicize his reason for leaving the brand and said there was a lack of diversity working with the company. He shared screenshots of Complex asking him if “systemic racism” was the reason for him leaving.
He wrote, “So over the last few weeks after resigning I fought tooth and nail into the 25th hour with c suite of supreme to align with them on a statement to the press explaining that l left supreme because of systemic racial issues the company has from the treatment of the arthur jafa collab to the make up of the design studio that has less than 10% minorities working when the brand is largely based off black culture ask @juliencahn @kyledem and Alex detrich…they were all on the text messages and kyle was on the calls until I told him I can’t align on a statement that doesn’t cite systemic racism…”
In his second post, he explained how his collab with Jafa was ruined, shared screenshots of his text messages with James Jebbia, the founder of Supreme, and accused the brand of trying to bury the systemic racism that exists in the company.
He continued, “So the Tuesday after i resigned james jebbia pulled up to my crib ( the text above was sent by him after leaving my crib) and we talked about why i resigned. the head of hr was there and a woman from vf was listening in on zoom. James admitted he should have talked to me about cancelling images from the jafa collab because one of the few black employees( who ironically has quit supreme before I did partially because of his treatment due to systemic issues by the supreme…his words not mine) in the design studio didn’t think that we should be putting out this collab because of the depiction of black men being hung and the freed slave gordon pictured with his whip lashes on his back…”
Based on these posts, looks like Emory’s relationship with one of the most influential streetwear brands is forever fractured. But at least he has his own brand, Denim Tears, which is an extremely popular and dope brand in its own right.
When Emory came on as Supreme’s creative director in February 2022, he reinvigorated mainstream excitement in the brand, making it a sought-after brand thanks to some dope collaborations and creative designs.
But now that he’s out, fans and followers are left with questions. How will Supreme be affected? Will Emory’s allegations hurt the skate company’s future endeavors? Will another Black designer come on as creative director after Emory’ accused them of hiding the systemic racism in the company?