Days before the official store launch on Saturday, diehard fans camped outside the Sinsa-Dong store in order to win a slot to purchase Supreme’s Seoul-exclusive box logo T-shirt, along with the first drop from the fall 2023 collection.
The brand’s Seoul flagship is the first outpost in Asia outside of Japan and the VF Corp.-owned streetwear label’s 16th store worldwide.
Located in the upscale Gangnam area, the shop is next to the charming Dosan park and neighbors a Louis Vuitton pop-up and Gentle Monster’s Haus Dosan flagship.
Viewed from the street, a skater-friendly sloped entryway, a sleek black facade, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows give the store an art gallery-like sensibility.
The Seoul store was designed by Supreme’s longtime collaborator, London-based design studio Brinkworth.
Inside the 2,273-square-foot store, shoppers encounter a giant mural featuring elf-like characters painted by Rita Ackermann, a fixture in the downtown New York scene who also created artwork for Supreme’s Chicago store.
On the other side of the wall is a monumental collage by Weirdo Dave that features a parade of pop culture references, from Lisa of Blackpink to viral cat memes. Also on the walls and the pristine floor are Nate Lowman bullet hole paintings, which help add a touch of pop to the airy store.
The shop’s most captivating design element is the two speakers chained to the ceiling, custom-made by Brooklyn, New York-based speaker artist Devon Turnbull.
A blown-up version of a Supreme money stack bench at the center of the store is where visitors can linger and congregate. The only piece of design not created by a notable artist, the bench is a blown-up version of a Supreme paperweight accessory from its fall 2017 collection.
The top two floors of the stand-alone Dosan building, off limits to regular customers, house the brand’s local office.
To inaugurate the cult skate shop’s first store in South Korea, Supreme released a short film documenting its skate team playing tricks and roaming about downtown Seoul.
Titled “Piggy” and shot by Supreme filmmaker William Strobeck, the black-and-white video premiered during an exclusive launch party ahead of the store opening. Yet to be released online, clips of the video can be seen at the Seoul store.
The Seoul store’s debut comes after a year after the heritage streetwear brand entered the China market via a store-in-store at Dover Street Market Beijing, its only wholesales partner.
Martino Scabbia Guerrini, executive vice president and president of EMEA, APAC and emerging brands at VF Corp., recently told WWD that Supreme has the potential to double its reach by expanding its retail footprint in Asia and Europe in the mid-term.
“However, this should be done with discipline because Supreme is a wonderful model but you need to keep innovating the products, aesthetics and communication. You’d rather avoid oversaturation, the scarcity model…is the tool to remain exclusive,” Scabbia Guerrini said.