In the boy’s world of buying and selling streetwear, a woman comes out on top.

By MIA JACOBS

With lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and blankets, the bundled up young men start lining up in the pre-dawn hours on Lafayette Street. By the time the sun comes up on Thursday mornings, dozens stand behind police barricades, many outfitted in brightly colored puffer-jackets and sweatshirts, some with images of snow-capped mountains, Playboy bunnies, and bold logos. At 10 a.m., the doors to now-famed streetwear brand, Supreme, will open its doors and “drop” a limited selection of clothing. The most coveted items– hoodies, jackets, or the rare “box logo,”–will be sold out within minutes. Campers who earned their place in line via a lottery will likely be disappointed by the time they reach the front of the line.

Online, a 10 a.m. drop occurs virtually. Worldwide, thousands of people compete for the goal of owning a piece of Supreme clothing. They struggle through the credit card and address forms, and finally refresh the captcha, only to be told that the item

s in their shopping cart are sold out. Most customers who log on to Supreme’s website at the time of the clothing drop will be out-paced by “bots,” algorithms installed on a computer to select clothing, input credit card, and defeat the captcha in milliseconds.

One recent February morning, 20-year-old Sarah Chuback, a University of Albany marketing major, has made the bus trip down to Manhattan, and waits between the barricades of Lafayette street. Having arrived at 3 a.m., she’s secured a spot at the front of the line. At 10 a.m., Chuback springs into action. She has already scoped out Supreme’s collection beforehand, so when she enters the store, she knows her targets: a hat, sweatshirt, two t-shirts, and a lighter. When Chuback leaves with her loot, eyes gaze at her and her bag from the line.

Chuback wears incredibly reflective shoes.

Chuback’s in-store haul is merely supplementary to what she received online. While she was shopping, her younger sister, Ariana, opens her laptop outfitted with a “bot” in her Barnard College dorm room, and runs it on Supreme’s website. Her computer is set up with a proxy, which allows her computer to run on a different IP address, just to be careful. By 10:10 a.m., Sarah now owns $1000 worth of retail merchandise.

“So once I buy all of this, I usually keep one or two pieces from the haul,” says Chuback. “This week, I honestly thought that everything at the drop was pretty ugly. I wouldn’t wear any of it– so I’m just going to sell them.”

Chuback is one of a limited number of women who take part in the industry of buying and selling streetwear. Referred to as “hypebeasts,” these collectors, mostly male, go through great lengths to buy limited edition clothing and shoes to resell at a huge markup. Brands like Supreme only cater to men’s sizes, thus excluding an entire market of potential female buyers. Chuback chooses style over size, and also sees the lucrative side of buying clothing that doesn’t always fit her.

Back in Albany, Chuback’s intent is to sell most of her haul to her coworkers at Zumiez, a chain skate store. Chuback supplies them weekly with clothing from more coveted brands like Supreme, Palace, or Nike to suit their outfit needs.

“I bring a duffle bag full of the stuff I bought, and then I let my coworkers look at them through the plastic bags they come in,” says Chuback. “I’ll tell them what each piece is reselling for online and then they’ll make me an offer.”

The rest of the clothing will be sold to University of Albany students. Chuback relies heavily on word of mouth among her peers, since there’s no centralized way of finding resale streetwear online. Through word of mouth, people can trust that Chuback’s clothing is legitimate. She’s developed such a following around campus that she’s known affectionately as the “Drop Shop.”

“I don’t mind the nickname,” says Chuback. “It’s pretty funny to have everyone be like, ‘Sarah’s Drop Shop is open!’ People just want to own one of these pieces I bring back, especially because it’s so difficult to get them. In reality, they just don’t want to put in the work.”

Chuback’s co-worker, Ralph Kartel, 20, recently bought a Supreme-branded rug from Chuback. It’s the size of a door mat, features an image of a hand pointing a gun, and the phrase, “There Is Nothing Worth Dying For.”

“I’m just happy that I’m able to own something from Supreme,” says Kartel. “It’s not the best item they’ve ever put out but it’s still pretty cool.”

It proved to be a good sale for Chuback as well. The rug retailed for $38, and was sold for $100. With $1000 spent on retail each week, Chuback turns massive profits by quickly turning over her hauls in Albany.

Chuback’s success in the streetwear buying and selling industry isn’t merely luck with lotteries or entering captchas. It requires insider knowledge and understanding of brands that many people lack.

“Just because I’m a woman, and because I don’t have too much accessibility to the sizes that these brands produce, doesn’t mean that I can’t take part in this industry,” says Chuback. “I fell in love with these styles, and on top of that, there’s a way to make money from it. I think I’m involved in this culture just as much of as any of the guys.”