After generating a backlash among hypebeasts, Samsung has announced that it is reevaluating its partnership with Supreme Italia, a rip-off of the real Supreme brand.
The South Korean tech giant was criticized earlier this month after its collaboration with Supreme Italia, a counterfeit but legal brand based in Barletta, Italy.
Supreme NYC was reportedly beaten by the rival company in court over which of them can use the brand name in Italy.
While it imitated the trade dress and logos of another company, the copy Supreme is protected (and even favored) by local Italian law as it registered their own trademarks in Italy.
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Supreme Italia partnered with Samsung as part of its plan to launch retail stores in China next year.
As Samsung did not actually provide enough details on the supposed collaboration, observers believe that the company is merely using the announcement to generate hype.
The real Supreme has since stated that it is not working with Samsung or opening a flagship store in Beijing via a comment to Hypebeast.
“These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization,” a spokesperson from the New York City-based fashion brand was quoted as saying.
“Youth these days want to show their uniqueness in style … to show off style, we have two brands that begin with S,” Samsung China marketing head Feng En said as he shared the stage with two CEOs of the fake Supreme during a product launch streamed live on December 10.
Shortly after the announcement, Samsung China’s digital marketing manager, Leo Lau, posted on Weibo, confirming that they are not collaborating with the authentic Supreme brand.
“We are collaborating with Supreme Italia, not Supreme NYC,” Lau wrote in a now-deleted post. “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).”
Two days later, Samsung wrote a post on Weibo saying that it was already reevaluating the partnership with Supreme Italia. The post also noted that the company “regretted any inconvenience it may have caused.”
Amid the controversy, Supreme Italia’s parent company IBF released an official statement confirming the partnership and the Fashion Week information:
“The press release was presented at the latest [sic] conference by the South Korean technological giant for the presentation of the Galaxy A8 phone in China during which the forthcoming participation of Supreme at the fashion show at the Mercedes-Benz Cultural Center in Shanghai was confirmed for next year.
We hope that the opportunities presented today will be seen as concrete possibilities for the development and extension of the brand given the desire to continue on this path.”
Meanwhile, Supreme NYC is embroiled in a controversy of its own as it also stands accused of stealing the brand’s overall from the work of conceptual artist Barbara Kruger.