Thirty Years Around the Block: The Story Behind the Clayton Patterson x Supreme Collaboration

Posted on: May 11th, 2021 at 5:13 am by

Photo: Clayton Patterson

Neighborhood documentarian Clayton Patterson has a new collaboration out now with Supreme.

The question is, how did I connect with Supreme? It is a story that took about thirty years to get around the block. Just about all of the connections were through the streets of the Lower East Side. Here is how it happened; the way New York City used to be.

In the mid-1980s, Elsa and I survived, in part, by creating and producing the signature “Clayton Caps.” We were one of the small independent businesses on the LES, selling the caps outside our storefront at 161 Essex Street.

Photo: Clayton Patterson

One cap eventually found its way into the hands of James Jebbia, a partner in a small independent clothing store in SoHo called Union. We sold our caps there. Later, through my “front door photos,” I met a graffiti writer in the crew IRAK. This individual introduced me to a couple of high school students interested in film. These three – Ben Solomon, Dan Levin, and Filipo Chia – wanted to make a film about Cuban Hip Hop. Since travel to Cuba from America was illegal, they went via Mexico, met a posse of young Hip Hop creators, and made their film. I was impressed and wrote a piece in Mass Appeal magazine. Off to film school they went. Graduated. Connected with Jenner Furst, an editor and film school mate. Working at Blowback productions, on their own time, Ben, Dan, and Jenner, created their first film: Captured. A history of Elsa Rensaa and myself.

Captured led to me meeting Nick Atkins. Nick worked with Aaron Bondaroff of the former Hester Street clothing store aNYthing. Aaron was publishing books at the time. Nick along with a past intern of mine, Monica Uscerowicz, created and published the Front Door book.

Through the front door photos, I met downtown skateboarder Leo Fitzpatrick (Kids, Bullies, Sons of Anarchy), whom I introduced to Jose “Cochise” Quiles. Leo tapped Cochise for an art show at Public Access his independent art gallery at 8 St. Mark’s.

The 30 year block. James Jebbia became the original driving force behind Supreme, and still one of the top dogs. Nick Atkins and Leo Fitzpartick work at Supreme. They hooked me, as well as Cochise who has a tshirt coming out, to the Supreme Team. We got picked to design some spring line clothing. Ben Solomon made the video.  Dan Levin oversaw the contract.

And that is how it happened. All through the LES, the front door, street graffiti, skateboards, and good old fashioned hustling.

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