Streetwear, at least as we currently understand it, did not exist in the late ’60s, when the Velvet Underground were figuring out how the next few decades of underground rock ‘n’ roll would sound. If it had existed, it seems like a fair bet that the Velvet Underground would’ve had nothing to do with it. It’s hard, in fact, to picture the Velvets wearing much other than immaculately tailored suits with turtlenecks and giant sunglasses. In addition to making transgressive, discordant, impossibly cool music, the Velvet Underground were masters at looking studiously blank. Can you look studiously blank while wearing a limited edition bright-fuchsia T-shirt that cost $78? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe the people at Supreme are banking on it.
Over the years, Supreme, the go-to streetwear brand, has collaborated with iconic musicians, and they’ve also hijacked plenty of other iconic musicians’ logos and designs. That list includes chanting monks, and it also includes the late Velvet Underground leader Lou Reed. Back in 2009, the Reed modeled in a Supreme ad campaign, and he made the logo look cool. (Supreme then printed up shirts of Lou Reed wearing their shirt, as one does.) And today, Supreme has unveiled a new Velvet Underground collection that’ll be available later this week.
The Supreme Velvet Underground collection will include a rayon shirt, a ringer tee, three regular T-shirts, and two hoodies, all of them stamped with artwork from Velvets records. There’s a short-sleeve button-up stamped with the Loaded cover art, a hoodie with the Velvet Underground & Nico tracklist on the back, a T-shirt with the Velvet Underground & Nico album credits, that kind of thing. It’ll be available 9/19 at Supreme’s Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Paris stores, and it’ll be in Tokyo two days later. Details here.