The day that Supré closed down in the Meridian Mall was a sad day for Dunedin. Although I was more of a Jay-Jays kid growing up, I remember going there in my early teenage years and it completely changed me. When you walked in, you were greeted with overwhelming fluorescent lights, Taio Cruz’s Dynamite and the overpowering smell of Impulse.
You became part of a stampede of prepubescent girls trying to find their latest look for the next school disco, while you texted your bestie from your Telecom R100 and your mum looked on disapprovingly. Life was simpler back then.
Supré had everything that a 13-year-old girl in 2010 could want. They had three very distinct styles of clothing: obnoxious printed slogan tees, hyper-sexualised children wear, and too much neon and chiffon. I absolutely loved the way too-tight fluorescent t-shirts that would say things like “DIRTY DIRTY HOUSE MUSIC” or “I’M NOT SHORT, I’M FUN-SIZED” in block letters; they paired beautifully with some classic Asic track pants. You could shop for both day and night wear, getting a class “I’m Beached As” whale t-shirt for the day, and a lovely salmon chiffon fish-tail skirt and lace bottom singlet for the evening. I would wait in anticipation for the next mufti day where I could bring my P.E. gear to school in my pink Supré bag, and show off my new funky neon accessories.
I look back at my time shopping at Supré with neon-tinted glasses, but also remember how toxic the store actually was. With a primary demographic of young 11-14 year-old girls, most of their clothes were hyper-sexualised. Looking past all the neon and slogan tees, you see clothes designed for smaller body shapes, very tight tank tops, boob tubes, body-con skirts all designed for prepubescent girls, which is pretty whack. Each item of clothing was a prime example of the fast fashion that is slowly ruining the fashion industry.
As much as I try to steer away from fast fashion now, I cannot forget my humble origins with Supré. The fluro colours, obnoxious accessories and the generally tacky vibe has shaped my taste distinctions to what they are now. Supré’s clothing is what sparked my love for fashion, but also ugly fashion. It taught me the fun in wearing mismatched colours, prints and patterns. It gave me confidence to dress a certain way without giving a shit what anyone else thought, because I genuinely enjoyed it. While I look back at old photos of myself and physically cringe at what I was wearing, I have nothing but respect for Supré for helping me find my stylistic niche.
This week is our fashion issue of Critic. I petitioned long and hard to get a fashion issue and much to Charlie’s annoyance, I got it. Fashion is an important part of our social culture, and holds a dear place in my heart. You can express yourself just through some overpriced pieces of fabric. How insane is that? I want you to rethink your wardrobe, expand your taste distinctions, and try something new. Go to Toffs and find the sickest garment in the $2 section and send me a pic at email@example.com x