If you’re not familiar with the current “beef” between streetwear mogul James Jebbia of Supreme, and entrepreneur Leah McSweeney of Married to the MOB, then we’ll get you up to speed real f*ckin’ quick.
Supreme has a history of incorporating designs from a variety of sources — mainly corporate logos and artists — into their t-shirt designs; most notably the Supreme “box logo,” which was inspired by celebrated conceptual artist Barbara Kruger. Her use of the “Futura Bold Oblique” font has a storied history, and critiques the use of consumerism and propaganda in early advertising.
Now, there’s no problem with Supreme’s use of Kruger’s signature font, in fact, until now she’s been relatively quiet on the subject. However, James Jebbia is suing Married to the Mob’s Leah McSweeney’s for her use of the box logo on her line’s “Supreme Bitch” t-shirt.
According to McSweeney, Jebbia knew about the “Supreme Bitch” t-shirt way back in ’04, and even okayed its use. Why Jebbia chose to wait until now to sue McSweeney is anyone’s guess. But we can tell you one thing — Leah is not having it. She decided to share her thoughts on the whole matter, as well as the official lawsuit, on Married to the Mob’s blog:
As some of you may have heard, Supreme is suing me for $10 million over my “Supreme Bitch” design. I’ve been using this design since the first MOB collection in summer 2004. I even sold it as a tee at Union, a store owned and managed by Supreme’s founder James Jebbia, who gave the design his blessing. Now, he’s claiming that the design infringes his trademark rights.Unlike some companies that blatantly rip-off other brand logos, Married To The Mob has always had its own identity and aesthetic by being an extension of my life experiences. I started this company when I was 22 and have come a long way without a piggyback ride from anyone.Supreme Bitch is one design of many; one slogan of many. And the use of the design has always been to make fun of the misogynistic vibe of Supreme and the boys who wear it.
Streetwear brands have a history of poking fun at corporate logos, politicians, and ratchet-ass celebrities. It seems odd for one brand to call out another for incorporating a design into their clothing that neither of them own the rights to. If anyone should have a say in the matter, it should be Barbara Kruger. Luckily, the people over at Complex got a hold of Ms. Kruger’s e-mail and decided to hit her up. To everyone’s surprise, she replied with a blank e-mail containing one attachment:
No word yet on the authenticity of the Kruger’s e-mail, but if it is Barbara, props to her even knowing how to execute a screen-grab at the age of 68. The fact that she used the word “clusterfuck” in the same paragraph as “farce” only proves to me that she’s one bad ass mofo.