In 2017, when Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton sent skate brand Supreme down the runway, something changed. Like when Coco Chanel stated that corseted silhouettes were lame, or when Yves Saint Laurent decided smoking jackets were also for women — each marking a shift in fashion, the end of one period and the start of something new, exciting, and provocative.
However, for decades, most of luxury’s iconic moments operated in a bubble. Yes, this bubble draws inspiration from the real world, but always at a comfortable distance. A club kid dressed to survive the streets of New York City is not the same as the club kid aesthetic that passes through fashion’s trillion-dollar everlasting gobstopper machine.
And while luxury brands have spent decades fiddling with different silhouettes, perfecting how to win their predominantly white and rich client’s dollar, club kids were actually dancing, activists were actually protesting, and skaters were actually skating.
Suddenly, when Supreme’s iconic box logo meshed with Louis Vuitton’s century old monogram, the conversation was no longer just about silhouettes. A logo that is synonymous with rebellion and subversion made its way to the most exclusive catwalk in the world. The line of separation between fashion’s luxury elite and the rest of us became thin to a breaking point.
This collection questioned who and what luxury is for. By no means an isolated event, creators like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat planted the seeds for this thinking in the art world long before fashion caught up.
What do these movers and shakers have in common? They’re legends. But a legend then is different from a legend now. Fur line Blacklagama’s 1970s campaigns shot by Richard Avedon posed the question perfectly: “What becomes a Legend most?”
Fifty years later, Jing Daily poses the same question to the luxury industry. Aside from fur being no more, the rules today are different. Luxury is no longer just luxury, it’s popular luxury
establishing that luxury is not just for a select few but for all people of the time. Today’s industry is dependent on its connection to wide audiences; inseparable from BIPOC culture, popular art, hip-hop, and the power of mass opinion fueled by the Internet.
This new world requires new language and a new level of mindfulness from brands on how they create and market products. Instantaneously, Supreme x Louis Vuitton secured legendary status because it straddles this new world perfectly. It is not just a product but a collectible and more than that, it’s a modern collectible: an item that crosses genres of fashion and art and subverts traditional markets to earn high cultural and resale value.
Our criteria for determining what earns a product modern collectible status.
Most modern collectibles subvert traditional models and institutions. This can take the form of products like sneakers earning a spot at an auction house or a hoodie making its way to a luxury runway.
POPULAR CULTURE VALUE
Modern collectibles have high popular culture value – this can include newcomer brands but also long standing-legacy luxury brands. This takes the form of products that are at the intersection of fashion, art, and music.
Modern collectibles must have mass appeal – this means appeal to new audiences. Whereas traditional luxury and traditional art spaces were closed off from mast audiences – aside from spectatorship – modern collectibles are dependent on the approval of public opinion through channels like social media.
Modern collectibles are products that due to factors like popular culture and hype are of high demand the moment they release. Many of these products follow a drop model which was popularized by streetwear mainstays like Supreme.
Modern collectibles earn their value from cultural capital, mass appeal, and attracting instant demand. This results in products like sneakers, hoodies, and toys fetching instant resale value. These products find a home on sites like StockX and Grailed but have also made their way to auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s.
Modern collectibles include products like sneakers, handbags, streetwear, and toys.
Modern collectibles do not build value over time but instead create almost instant value.
This new category of product – whether a handbag, sneaker, or toy – is contextualized in popular culture. While traditional collectibles are created and defined by institutions and find value in their historical staying power, modern collectibles are fueled by popular opinion and find value in demand and ingenuity.
Modern collectibles operate in a completely different playing field, where sneakers are not just something to run into the ground, but an investment. Modern collectibles deal with a new collector, who cares less about Old Masters and more about contemporary products with cultural capital. Notably, we are only at the beginning of this shift and could only dream of what following generations will deem worth collecting.
How modern collectibles compare to traditional collectibles.
Product builds value over time Product draws value from instant demand and cultural capital Product dominated by traditional art – old masters, sculpture, modern art, contemporary art Product dominated by handbags, sneakers, collectible toys, watches/hard luxury, merch, streetwear, popular art Collectibles validated by legacy institutions and auction markets Collectibles validated by popular culture approval Key players include art institutions, galleries, auction houses, traditional collectors Key players include luxury brands, popular artists, hip-hop artists, fashion designers Appeals to traditional markets Appeals to new markets including China, Millennial, Gen-Z Coveted due to institutional approval, market demand, exclusionary practices Coveted due to popular opinion and mass audience demand Ideals are created and maintained by institutions Ideals are created and maintained by the public through social media and digital platforms Companies and institutions are tastemaker Creatives and audiences are tastemakers Propagates economic status, social status, classism Highlights elements from subcultures, BIPOC culture, popular culture
The beauty of a modern collectible is its ability to subvert tradition and its range. On one hand, we have newcomers like Off-White and Telfar. Elsewhere, we have sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas that thanks to collaborations have earned modern collectibles status. And less often, we have legacy brands like Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga that are reinvigorated by designers such as Demna Gvasalia and the late Virgil Abloh, respectively.
we aim to develop a deeper understanding of how this new category lives, creating a handbook for both brands and consumers. Here, we analyze what drives value in a modern collectible, both quantitatively and qualitatively, starting with the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collection.
The lens through which we examine this collection today is not the same lens we adopted four years ago. The pace at which the industry shifts means a retrospective for a modern collectible is no longer warranted after decades but after years or even months. Legends are no longer set over decades, but created in seconds.
Examples of top modern collectibles that meet key criteria.
20TH ANNIVERSARY BOX LOGO TEE WHITE 2014 $32 $1470 / $5888 OFF-WHITE
AIR JORDAN 1 RETRO CHICAGO 2017 $190 $5292 / $7496 KAWS
COMPANION FLAYED OPEN EDITION VINYL FIGURE BLACK 2016 $200 $1225 / $1409 TELFAR
SHOPPING BAG LARGE PAINTERS TAPE 2021 $257 $421 / $800 NIKE
DUNK SB LOW MICHAEL GARDENER WOOD 2006 $250 $9,000 / $9,000 LOUIS VUITTON×SUPREME
SKATEBOARD DECK RED 2017 $935 $6077 / $9657 BEARBRICK SORAYAMA×DANIEL ARSHAM
1000% SILVER 2019 $810 $13232 / $14999 ADIDAS
YEEZY BOOST 350 V2 BELUGA 2017 $220 $665 / $750
*Prices reflect average and top sale price over a 12 month period on StockX.