In addition to his full time gig as the owner of PremiumGoods. sneaker stores at Park Slope and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, Clarence Nathan is perhaps one of the most notable collector of Supreme goods. In addition to his mind-boggling Supreme sticker collection (which Freshness featured in 2009), five-panel camp caps and skate decks, Nathan also possess some of the most exclusive items by Supreme, including this original 1994 Supreme “Taxi Driver” (Travis Bickle) T-Shirt autographed by over 100 skateboard pros.
What started as a side project by Chappy, one of Supreme’s original store employee, the autographed tee became somewhat of a tradition among skateboarders visiting the Lafayette Street store location. Hang at the shop’s back room, the faded markings recall some of today’s best skaters, then mere urchins who hang around the store…
To learn more about this t-shirt and the overall influence of Supreme, we recently caught up with Clarence Nathan and to see this most unique item first hand.
Please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Clarence Nathan. I own the PremiumGoods. sneaker shops in the Park Slope and Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn, NY. Over the last 20yrs I have collected most things Supreme. Even though I’ve slowed down on the collecting I still have a deep appreciation for what they do and how they do it.
Tell us about Supreme’s tee designs in the late 90s.
The older Supreme tee shirt designs were cool because streetwear had a different look and feel back then. Most brands at that time had imagery (graphics) directly related to what they represented. So if you were a skateboard company or skate shop you made clothing that had skateboards or someone riding a skateboard on it. If you were a graffiti inspired brand you had graffiti tags on your shirts. So when Supreme comes along they’re making tee shirts with airplanes on them. Something that had absolutely zero to do with anything relating to skateboarding. The only other brand prior to Supreme doing this kind of separation would have been Stussy. For someone like me who was into skating but I wasn’t a hardcore skater these designs appealed to my taste. I didn’t want to look like a 17yr old but I also didn’t want to look like the suit and tie guy. So the minimal Supreme tee graphics suited guys like me as well as other artist, musicians and graphic designers.
What’s the background on this very unique t-shirt?
This tee is very interesting… I first saw it at Supreme in the stockroom when I started to hang out there. It was just hung up on an exposed beam with thumbtacks. From what I remember; my friend Chappy who worked there would have pro skaters autograph this shirt when they came to the shop. Over the years the signatures accumulated and it became it’s own thing. Then you had local downtown guys, artist and shop staff who worked or hung out at Supreme would autograph it as well.