The MTA’s supreme takeover
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Millions of Metrocards are swiped, bought, lost, and thrown away everyday in New York City. They are easily replaceable, small pieces of plastic that carry one sole purpose, access to New York’s public transportation system. So if one these cards were to introduce a different kind of card, adding a mere logo to the back of a common Metrocard, with no benefits or cost reductions whatsoever, it would be unusual to think the value of such a card would increase by such a significant margin. Supreme proved this wrong.
If you are familiar with streetwear and brands, Supreme should not sound alien, seeing as it is one of the biggest streetwear brands out there. The collaborations Supreme has taken part in have produced some of the most stylish and expensive clothing on the streetwear market. Recently, a joining of Louis Vuitton and Supreme generated clothing and accessories with unimaginable prices including a $68,500 trunk.
The name Supreme being added to almost anything has always made it both expensive and wanted by this community of people that are willing to go to extreme lengths to get it. The fact that a company has such an influence is remarkable but it is also dangerous as well as ignorant. I was a victim to this with Supreme’s most recent collaboration with the MTA.
The Supreme Metrocard could be found at select subway stations and, depending on availability, they could be obtained from Metrocard vending machines. I missed the day they came out but the sheer name and look of the card prompted me to try and get it by all means. I eventually found the card being sold on Facebook by a reseller for $20, $14.50 more than the actual value of it. To the average person, this may seem like a dumb idea and a waste of money, and in reality, it is. The card has no special abilities to make my fare cheaper or my swipe smoother. It just has a name on it, but I gave in to it because of that name. I was not alone however, as I witnessed crowds forming at subway stations on social media and one person wanted the card so badly that they broke the vending machine and a picture on Facebook can be seen with all the cards spilled on the floor.
Take my situation, now apply to the brand as a whole. People are willing to spend over two to three times the original amount of a Supreme item just because of the brand. A business of reselling has been established around the brand and this massive market is very apparent on social media. People are also willing to sleep on the street outside the store to “cop the latest drop.”
Supreme’s power and influence on people is incredible, but people should open their eyes. It is ridiculous to spend a month’s rent worth on a plain grey sweater with a little red badge in the middle that has the word “Supreme” on it. Some good can be seen from this, however. The MTA must have generated a substantial increase in sales the days these cards were out there and if Supreme utilizes their clout for good, they could make a big impact.