A surging interest in alternative types of currency has led to a recent peak in the value of the ‘bitcoin’. The bitcoin proves itself to be dangerous to the classic types of currency, like the dollar, because the compared value is genuinely unknown. In January 2012, the value of a bitcoin was $6. In January 2018, the value was $16k. In just 6 years, the value of the bitcoin increased enough to make a few lucky investors rich for life.
Alternatively, the value of certain streetwear brands has followed this trend. In the 1990s, Supreme was a small New York skate shop worn by local skateboarders, much like any other local skate shop. They made clothing, skateboards and accessories that were popular among the skate community, but otherwise not very common. Fast forward to 2017, and the brand can’t seem to keep their shop in stock for more than a few minutes on release days. Fans will camp out doors for hours before they open with a new collection on Thursdays at 11am EST.
Supreme’s clothing is so valuable, because similar to bitcoin, it is limited in production. Unlike everyday brands, Supreme is harder to come by, and simple economics says that when something is scare, the value increases. This concept of scarcity, along with the popularization of the brand in 2012 by the hip-hop group Odd Future led by Tyler, the Creator, led to immediate success.
Fast forward to 2017, and Supreme is doing collaborations with major fashion brands such as Comme des Garcons and Louis Vuitton, which only increase the want for their products. The humor of it is, the t-shirts they sell are only $36. However, they sell out every single time they are released, which increases the value to sometimes over $500. In 2017, Supreme also sold stake in their company to they Carlyle Investment Group, which valued the New York skate shop at $1 billion.
As the economy continues to produce uncertainty, people are finding alternative ways to create markets and make money, whether it be cryptocurrency or clothing.