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Samsung angers hypebeasts by partnering with fake Supreme brand in China

Samsung angers hypebeasts by partnering with fake Supreme brand in China


Legal loopholes allow an Italian company to sell fake Supreme products

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Image: Samsung / Weibo

Samsung is getting criticized by hypebeasts everywhere after it claimed to be collaborating with Supreme; in reality, it partnered with a Supreme rip-off. Samsung is actually partnering with a fake legal brand, a rival company based in Barletta, Italy, that beat Supreme NYC in a court case this summer regarding who can use the brand name in Italy.

Supreme Italia is just one of the many companies that exist between the lines drawn by intellectual property law. By appropriating the trade dress and logos of another company but registering their own trademarks in Italy, the fake Supreme is protected (and even favored) by local Italian law.

Image: Samsung / Weibo

Now, Supreme Italia has plans to launch retail stores in China for the first time starting next year, with Samsung as its first major partner. Samsung hasn’t announced what types of products would come from its collaborative efforts with the fake Supreme. Instead, it’s using this announcement to generate hype.

The real Supreme — the New York City-based fashion brand made famous by its box logo, collaborations, and limited-run items — said in a comment to Hypebeast that it is not working with Samsung or opening a flagship store in Beijing. “These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization,” a spokesperson said.

This is not an official Supreme-Samsung collab

The two CEOs of the fake Supreme were ushered onstage with confidence during a product launch today. “Youth these days want to show their uniqueness in style ... to show off style, we have two brands that begin with S,” said Feng En, marketing head for Samsung China, pointing at the logos of Samsung and Supreme on-screen behind him.

After the stream aired, Samsung China’s digital marketing manager, Leo Lau, clarified in a now-deleted Weibo post that Samsung was not collaborating with the authentic Supreme brand. “We are collaborating with Supreme Italia, not Supreme NYC,” Lau said. “Supreme NYC has no sales and marketing authorization in China, but Supreme Italia has obtained product sales and market authorizations in the Asia Pacific region (except Japan).” 

On Wednesday, Samsung said that it was reevaluating the partnership with Supreme Italia and regretted any inconvenience it may have caused.

With the way things are panning out between Supreme Italia and Supreme NYC, don’t expect a Samsung collaboration in the US anytime soon.

Shannon Liao contributed to this article.

Update December 12th, 4:20AM ET: Updated with Samsung statement saying it was reevaluating the partnership.