New York City's skateboard brand 'Supreme' has three shops in Tokyo. The stores are in Harajuku, Shibuya and Daikanyama. The Supreme brand was founded by James Jebbia in 1994 and has a large following of dedicated fans in Japan and all over the world. Supreme releases new items every Saturday in Japan, which causes long lines outside stores from as early as Friday afternoon for the popular collections.
The photo above is of the Harajuku branch. This is the newest Supreme store in Tokyo and also serves as the Supreme brand's headquarters in Tokyo. This store gets the most stock, which in turn attracts the highest number of customers. If you come to this store on an early Saturday morning, you'll face the most competition to buy Supreme items, but also have the highest chance of being able to buy the items you want.
The Shibuya store, pictured above, is the second oldest Supreme store in Tokyo. It gets the second-most amount of stock and therefore attracts the second-highest number of customers.
The Daikanyama store is the oldest Supreme store in Tokyo, but also the smallest, with the least amount of stock. Because of the small size of the store, I don't really recommend it for Supreme fans. However, when I visited recently, there were lots of items from the Fucking Awesome collaboration left at this store. The Daikanyama Supreme store is pictured below.
When big Supreme collaborations and popular items are set to be released, people will definitely begin lining up from Friday afternoon. On these highly popular days, Supreme security staff will usually stop people from joining the line at around 2 pm on Friday. This is because there are only allowed to be a certain number of people lining up over night around the neighborhood. The lucky people who manage to get a place in line before 2 pm will have to do a lottery later in the evening to decide their actual number in the line. After the lottery the line will be reshuffled according to the number each person has 'won'.
Now comes the real challenge. All the people in line have to remain in line over night, waiting until the store opens at 9 am on Saturday. Customers are allowed to bring folding chairs along to rest on, BUT the chairs can only be used once the Supreme security staff give the okay. Sometimes the staff allow people to start using chairs at 8 pm, but sometimes only at 12 pm. This means that you will have to spend a long time on your feet, holding your chair, so make sure you bring something light and compact. The security staff will also force you to pack up your chair early in the morning at around 6 am at the Harajuku branch (a little later at Shibuya, and still later at Daikanyama). If you have made it through the night, you still have to face the stress of wondering whether the item you want to buy will be sold out before you make it to the front of the line.
If you've ever wondered about the long lines of tired-looking people around Shibuya and Harajuku, now you know. They are the loyal Supreme fans willing to face a day and night of discomfort to buy their favorite brand.
For those who just want to take a look around the stores, they are relatively empty on Sundays and weekdays until Thursday. Why not pop in for a glimpse of the street fashion that inspires such dedication?