Fly fishers hit out at Supreme’s ‘laughable’ range of utility wear

Angry fly fishing enthusiasts have hit out against streetwear label Supreme’s new range of fishing clothes calling it “laughable”, prompting a culture war between fishers and hipsters.

The collection, which was released this week in collaboration with Japanese indie fly fishing label South2 West8, features fishing jackets, shirts, bags, hats and a Tenkara fishing rod, in tie-dye and camouflage, and has been criticised for appropriating the look of technical clothes.

“I guarantee not a single fish will be caught with one of these,” wrote a user on a fly fishing Reddit forum, “none of them will even get wet most likely.” Stefan Ayon, fisher and designer of label Stay Made, told Inputmag: “to anglers, Supreme is laughable,” he said.

“It’s just one of those things where it’s a cultural and marketing grab that seems incredibly disingenuous.” While commentators on a fly fishing Instagram reacted to a photo of a model in the clothes fly fishing, writing: “If I see anyone on the water dressed like that and throwing a cane poll (sic),” with a laughing emoji. “Is this real or is this a late April fool’s joke?” wrote another.

In the past couple of years, items such as the fishing vest have been replicated by Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, it was called ‘the new bumbag’ for the way it has slipped into the mainstream uniting functionality and fashion.

Supreme’s new range of fishing clothes.
‘I guarantee not a single fish will be caught with one of these,’ wrote one user on a fishing Reddit forum. Photograph: SOUTH2 WEST8 / Supreme®

‘Gorpcore’, a pre-pandemic trend for urbanites to wear clothes purpose built for outdoor activities from upmarket outdoor shops such as Patagonia became popular in 2019. But in the pandemic, when many were spending more time outdoors than in, staples such as the fleece and walking boots exploded in popularity. While the puffer jacket from North Face (which culminated in a collaboration with Gucci) became a “must have” item. Women’s Wear Daily called the trend: “outdoorable”.

Not only have elements of these clothes bled into high fashion, the appeal of the technical aspects of these garments (toggles, buckles, clips), acquired some extra resonance during tlast year.

But for Ayon, it is disingenuous to create and wear the clothes without the context. “The technique and knowledge comes before flexing with gear,” he says. “If you’re rich, you can buy the most expensive things, but if you don’t know how to use the fucking thing, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t have a driver’s licence and you buy a Ferrari, what good is it?”

Last year Supreme were bought by apparel and footwear company VF Corp for $2.1bn.

The Guardian has reached out to Supreme and South2 West8 for comment.


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