Samsung China announced this week that it was partnering with streetwear brand Supreme but the deal has sparked controversy as it’s partnered with a fake Italian version of the brand.
Supreme New York has released a statement, according to Hypebeast, confirming that it was not involved, saying: “Supreme is not working with Samsung, opening a flagship location in Beijing or participating in a Mercedes-Benz runway show. These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization.”
The deal has thrown attention on to a legal business in Italy, called Supreme Italia, which has used a loophole in Italian law to successfully run a counterfeit business off the back of the Supreme New York brand.
According to reports, Samsung was well aware of which company they were dealing with. Jing Daily reports Samsung digital marketing manager as stating on Weibo, “We are partnering with Supreme Italia, not Supreme U.S. The latter does not have a legal authorization to sell and market in (China), but the Italian [company] has acquired the rights in the APAC region.”
At the Samsung press conference, the representative of the Supreme brand told the audience that it would open a flagship store at Beijing’s Sanlitun district and host a runway show at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena Cultural Center next year.
Supreme New York has denied in a statement that it is involved, but it is not yet known what the brand will do to try and protect its IP in lucrative China, a market also known for difficult IP issues. The Drum has reached out to Supreme New York for an update but had not received a response at the time of publishing.
As recently as October, brands such as Gucci were still voicing concerns over using Chinese e-commerce platforms for fear of counterfeiting. This is despite both Alibaba and JD.com pumping money into research and development around abolishing counterfeit goods.