ecently, Samsung China staged a launch event for the company’s new Galaxy A8s which was highlighted by the announcement of a collaboration deal between Samsung and clothing brand Supreme.
Net users watched on Weibo as two Asian “CEOs” from Supreme took the stage along a Samsung representative with the companies’ two logos on screen behind them. They spoke about Supreme’s big plans for next year of opening up a “7-story” flagship store in Shanghai and staging a high-profile runway show at the city’s Mercedes-Benz Arena.
However, there was just one small problem. Supreme’s CEO is founder James Jebbia. He is white and can’t speak Mandarin.
It turns out the Supreme that Samsung China is apparently collaborating with isn’t the Supreme that most of us know — the New York-based streetwear/high-fashion label — but instead a copycat Supreme from Italy.
This fake Supreme has managed to exploit trademark rules in some countries so that they can legally use the real Supreme’s name, logo, and branding, and one of those countries, unsurprisingly, appears to be China, notorious as the world’s “Wild West” of copyright and trademark law.
In a statement to Hypebeast, the real Supreme confirmed on Tuesday that this collaboration has absolutely nothing to do with them, declaring:
Supreme is not working with Samsung, opening a flagship location in Beijing or participating in a Mercedes-Benz runway show. These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization.
Meanwhile, in a now-deleted Weibo post, Samsung China’s digital marketing manager, Leo Lau, wrote that the brand they are collaborating with is “Supreme Italia, not Supreme US,” explaining that Supreme US is not authorized to sell and market in China.
It’s not clear if Samsung China was actually aware of this prior to entering into the collaboration with “Supreme.” It seems likely that the partnership will now come to nothing, crushed under a wave of mockery, though, who knows, this is China after all.