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David Newman

The managing director of Supremebeing tells Marie Davies how the streetwear brand was born out of his passion for graphics

What was life like before Supremebeing?

Life before was made up of woodwork, snowboarding, screen printing, Thai boxing, and hanging out with my friends and family.

How was Supremebeing born?

It was born from a love of graphic design and T-shirts. For me it was a case of spending my wages on graffiti magazines, T-shirts and other items of clothing. I was shopping for a new T-shirt and ended up buying one just for the sake of it. I wasn’t impressed with the offer and thought, ‘I’m going to make my own graphics and my own T-shirts’. At the time I was working at a screen printer’s where I met Yoc [Michael Codrington, one of the brand’s creative directors] who shared my passion for graphics. We worked on a few designs and the rest is history. Yoc and I still work very closely together on all aspects of Supremebeing.

What brands inspired you?

I always loved, and still do, Stussy. I also used to buy Chipie and Naf Naf. I remember writing to Diesel years ago with an idea for a repeat pattern. They were good enough to write back and wish me luck. I also wrote to [clubbing-inspired menswear brand] Daniel Poole and asked for any info. They sent me a postcard and a sticker which was very nice of them.

What was it like in the early days, trawling your wares around the UK?

It was great fun, my little car and my snowboard bag filled with beautiful T-shirts Yoc and I had designed. Finding skate, record and art shops and just walking in and saying: ‘Do you want to buy some T-shirts?’ I loved it, I met some lovely people and made some great friends along the way, slept on a few couches and called on some friends who were doing the university thing.

In 2003 Supremebeing expanded into designing clothing. Who oversaw this?

It was a case of natural progression. Yoc, Joe Lipscomb [joint creative director] and I had learnt how to print all our own transfers and we would heat press them onto T-shirts. Naturally we wanted to make other garments like jackets and track tops. Our first run of cut and sew came out of Portugal, we were selling to a shop called Nova Deluxe in Porto. They knew some people in the industry and introduced us. The idea was to make garments that would last for years and years. They ended up super heavy- weight and very expensive. We made no money, but made some beautiful garments. I was at Glastonbury on our clothes stall two years ago and a guy came over wearing one of our original hoodies, still in good shape even after six years.

The label has grown steadily since 1999. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt?

People. You’re nothing without a great team.

And finally, what’s your dream?

For me personally – have a big family, own a smallholding, trees everywhere and have a studio for woodwork and screen printing. I still want to be working for Supremebeing, helping to make it a household name. 

Quickfire questions

What’s the best-selling Supremebeing style to date?

Either jackets or T- shirts. The Woodsman jacket is one of the strongest.

When you’re not in the brand’s hometown of Cambridge, where can you be spotted?

Either on the tennis court, up a mountain if time permits, or chilling on my couch listening to records.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My mum always told me to treat others as you would like to be treated.

What’s your favourite piece of clothing you own, other than by Supremebeing?

My snowboarding jacket, made by a Swiss brand called Eleven.

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