Julia Fox’s 2022 has been nothing short of meteoric. Whilst she (now famously) was Josh Safdie’s muse for Uncut Gems / Jaahms back in 2019, the hype and fame she experienced from that was arguably minimal compared to her status as a household name nowadays. A lot of this was thanks to Ye – having been his girlfriend and doing the Fashion Month rounds with him earlier this year – but equally, a lot of it wasn’t.
Since their split, which she didn’t cry over, Fox has become a viral TikTok sensation, created a new, replicable uniform of heavy black eye makeup and DIY denim two pieces, and even walked runways of subsequent fashion weeks. It seems that all eyes are on the star – with anything she says or does almost guaranteed to be covered by the press and turned into a trending sound on social media.
Which makes her latest starring role in Supreme’s campaign make that much more sense. Featuring as cabin crew on ‘Air Supreme’, Julia can be seen handing out Henny and posing on the laps of the passengers. For a brand that was once driven by logomania, branding seems to be somewhat of an afterthought here – everything looks cool, but you’d have to squint to make out the Supreme logo on stowed bags or the back of jackets. All eyes, including the camera, are instead trained on Fox – who takes the role from cameo to protagonist for the campaign.
Releasing a short VHS-style video and image for now, the campaign has already caused a stir online. Reaction varies from post to post depending on who they are – in @throwingfits’ meme which pokes fun at people’s changing reactions to the actor, the reception seems to be that she was embarrassing, but on further reflection, is actually cool. On @highsnobiety‘s post, on the other hand, commenters aren’t so into it – citing the move as “trying too hard”, “desperate” and “poor” from Supreme.
Maybe the differing reactions are down to their differing audiences (although you’d think there was some overlap), or maybe both combined work to shape a broader picture of what’s actually going on here – Supreme is, and has always been, about the hype – for better or for worse. Whilst some see the move as cashing in on whatever’s trending right now, haven’t they always done that?
Think back to the industry-shifting campaigns like their Louis Vuitton collab, or the more random ones like the Oreo, or Kermit collabs and campaigns – taking what people already love, and Supreme-ifying them. What are seemingly innocuous but broadly popular markers of youth culture, when Supreme-ified, more than quadruple in value and become an integral part of the everchanging streetwear and fashion landscapes. They’ve always catered to the hype in order to push products.
However, as the other half of the jury have noted, this campaign feels different – collabing with Julia Fox (The Brand) is not about leveraging hype solely to sell stuff. Supreme’s products are far from the limelight in the images. This time around, it’s about proving Supreme is still tapped into the cultural and internet fabric. They, like the millions of people on TikTok, understand her significance at this current point in time. And instead of leveraging her ‘brand’ to directly sell products, they’re leveraging their proximity to her as a cultural figure in order to elevate the relevance of their own brand. They’re still catering to the hype, but in a slightly more concealed, and entirely more interesting manner.
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