Started by Shayne Oliver back in 2006, he told The New York Times, “The name Hood By Air is a play off being from the hood, but taking the train downtown to hang out with skater boys and artists.” He went on to tell Swagger New York, “It came from going to underground parties, and we used to freestyle on the mics.
And one night I was reciting something, and that came out and kinda stuck with me as an aesthetic and a way of living. It’s also like owning your influence on the world… make the world understand what you’re doing and why what you’re doing is so important.”
NIGO points to the 1968 film Planet of the Apes as a source of inspiration. Additionally, in speaking with CNN back in 2006, he commented that “it was meant to be sarcastic. The name ‘A Bathing Ape’ is short for a Japanese saying ‘a bathing ape in lukewarm water.’ It’s a reference to the young generation being spoiled, pampered and too complacent.” Thus, the name is a slight jab/critique on the laziness and opulence of the generation of youths who consumed his products.
Supreme doesn’t actually own the trademark to a name that has become ubiquitous with brand allegiance. In speaking with Interview Magazine back in 2009 founder James Jebbia said, “Supreme wasn’t meant to be a brand. I just was like, ‘Hey, that’s a cool name for a store.’ But it’s become a problem since it’s become a brand because we don’t own the name. It’s a good name, but it’s a difficult one to trademark.”
He went on to say, “With Supreme, there were no grand plans—with the name, with the store, with anything. It all just evolved. These days, it’s a lot more difficult to do that. You’ve got to come out with all guns blazing right away or you don’t stand a chance. Whereas when we first started, there weren’t blogs ready to shoot us down the day we opened. We were given time to make mistakes and grow.”