Hype culture has come to play again. Popular streetwear brand, Supreme, has announced the release of a Supreme-branded, 3G burner phone in its F/W 2019 collection. Are we back in the early 2000s? The phone is strikingly similar to the outdated phones that we left back in 2007 when the first iPhone was released. Its functions are extremely simplistic, providing minimal internet connectivity and photo-snapping, in all its pixelated glory.
To those unaware of the culture surrounding resale-driven brands like Supreme, this may seem like the worst idea ever. However, despite the phone’s obvious outdatedness, it can be expected to do fairly well for a variety of reasons.
The first is, as with any Supreme clothing item or accessory, the sheer exclusivity of these phones, made possible through low production quantities, makes people feel like they are a member of an elite group of consumers. In addition to this aura of exclusivity, the launch of this product also takes advantage of two things that their devotees — i.e. hypebeasts — seem to be obsessed with: 90’s/early 2000’s aesthetic and scoundrel culture. At the same time, consumers can live out their best early 2000’s life with their tiny phones with physical, actual keyboards and get the bad boy/girl clout of having a burner phone that their parents can’t track.
People may argue that the idea of this phone is completely ridiculous, and though they might not be wrong about that, there is no denying that Supreme knows exactly what they are doing in terms of giving their customers what they want.
If you want to learn more about just how these resale brands create hype and use it to their advantage, feel free to check out our recent post on the Voices of CX blog.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Social Media + Events Coordinator at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.