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Tremaine Emory

Founder, Denim Tears & Former Creative Director, Supreme

The Denim Tears founder and former Supreme creative director has used the ‘cultural vein’ of fashion to address American politics and the Black experience.


Tremaine Emory is the founder of Denim Tears, a self-described “African-American sportswear” label. He has distinguished himself for using the “cultural vein” of fashion to address American politics and the Black experience. In 2022, Emory was appointed the creative director of streetwear juggernaut Supreme in the brand’s biggest personnel move since it was acquired by VF Corp. in a 2020 deal that valued the label at $2.1 billion.

Emory was born in Georgia, raised in Queens, New York and lives in Los Angeles. His first job in fashion was on a J.Crew shop floor. He later worked a series of retail jobs for Marc Jacobs . In 2010, he moved to London where he launched the multidisciplinary creative practice No Vacancy Inn with close collaborator Acyde (Ade Odunlami), working across fashion, art, music and nightlife. He later worked for Stüssy, picking up the title of art director-at-large, before founding Denim Tears in 2019.

Emory has collaborated with luminaries like Kanye West, Frank Ocean and the late Virgil Abloh , as well as brands including Levi’s and UGG. In the wake of 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, the designer delayed the launch of a collaboration with sneaker brand Converse, putting pressure on parent company Nike to show support for the movement.

In 2021, Denim Tears’ Tyson Beckford sweater — which re-interpreted a classic Ralph Lauren knit, replacing the American flag with a version of artist David Hammons’ “Untitled (African-American Flag)” — was included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s “America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibit. In 2022, The Met approached Emory to acquire three Denim Tears pieces — the Tyson Beckford Sweater, as well as an ensemble created in collaboration with Levi’s and a pair of slippers made with UGG — for the Costume Institute’s permanent collection.

In August 2023, Emory stepped down from his role as creative director at the streetwear giant, after a year and a half in the role, over allegations that “systematic racism was at play within the structure of Supreme,” according to a letter of resignation seen by BoF. 




Creative Director




Art Director-at-Large

Denim Tears

Denim Tears

Vital Statistics

29 July 1981

United States

United States
Member since

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.