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In a new interview with GQ, former Supreme creative director, Tremaine Emory, opens up about his near-death health scare and leaving the popular streetwear clothing brand. Read more about how the designer has overcome health challenges and hopes to move forward with his future in fashion inside.

News that Emory was leaving Supreme as the brand’s creative director came out back in August. He has been pretty quiet about his decision to leave, but social media users had their own conspiracy theories about why. Ultimately in the designer’s resignation letter, he cited “systemic racism” at the company as the case for his departure.

In his latest interview with GQ writer Mik Awake, Tremaine goes into more detail about other factors that might have also contributed to him leaving the company. He discussed the serious vascular event that almost killed him, why he really resigned as the creative director at Supreme, and his hopes for the future.

Emory’s Health Scare

After spending time in ICU, Emory shares the excruciating surgery and recovery process he endured. One night he and his partner Andee McDowell were together when something strangely terrible started to happen inside his chest.

The article notes that, “While at first McConnell thought it might be a heart attack, and soon after, merely a muscle spasm from stress, soon, his legs went numb.”

“That’s when we called 9-1-1,” McConnell shared to the publication.

Emory experienced what is called an aortic dissection, which is what someone might experience in the first hours after a tear in the aorta’s inner lining. The series of unfortunate events lead to a frightening CT angiogram, highlighting the state of Emory’s vascular system.

“The look on her face was panic inducing,” McConnell remembers of her initial reaction.

Emory took out his phone and reached all of his loved ones, assuming it might be the last.

The designer and creative director survived one of his toughest challenges yet and penned a testimony and thank you online.

“The hardest part of this whole ordeal wasn’t the 8hr surgery, two comas ,sepsis, dialysis , faciatomy, being wheel chair & walker bound …not walking for 8 months etc… it was seeing people in the icu and rehab who didn’t have the same support that I had from loved ones,” Emory wrote on his personal Instagram account. “If you have that support in your life be grateful so many people don’t have that and I learned that in the depths of the icu and rehab unit for three months how alone some people are…thank you everyone one that was there for me far too many to name u all but none of the support was taken for granted. Thank you to the pt’s, doctors, nurses and the cleaning staff, security etc @weillcornell …thank you especially Anthony Specter, Chris burrows, g and Remy, bloody o & Dior ,nigel, acyde, brock, cactus, Aj, theaster, angelo (awake) , angelo ( 4s),Bailey, Alyssa , jordy, willow , berg, chad, brick ,du , flacko, juju , Bianca & james , will Perkins ,Stevie, Pia & Davide , my dad ,frank, Fraser , David , Spenser,will welch, ‘mag’ ,flacko, Kerwin, torrin, my mom, miles & harmony’s pictures on the wall, coco,james corrigan ,Cleo and the most beautiful flowers I received from her, Jackie & dr. Lindsay ( the whole baker crew)the whole Dt team …and to my wife andee emory McConnell for sleeping every night on a lazy boy for three months straight whilst we both fought for my life thank you for giving me a reason to ‘stand in the breakers.’”

Check out the post below:

Leaving Supreme

As for his exit from Supreme, he simply said that the brand “refused to have discourse with me.”

In the six months long time it took for Emory to recover from his aortic dissection, he says his relationship with Supreme was already beginning to unravel.

The issue began when he returned wanting to know what was going on with the Arthur Jafa collaboration he proposed before his leave.

“James okayed it, and the s—t got made,” Emory said of Supreme founder Jamess Jebbia’s initial approval of the collection and samples. Still, the collection has yet to be released. Emory tells GQ an archival photograph of the lynching is what gave people at Supreme pause.

 “Supreme refused to have discourse [with me] about it. It’s not about whether they are putting out the images or not, it’s about having discourse about it,” he told GQ. “They talked about it. But they didn’t want to talk to their African American creative director about it. It was uncomfortable for them. And that’s not my problem. ’Cause I didn’t create America. So I can’t get caught up in the politics of white people being uncomfortable talking about something.”

The Future for Tremaine

The article goes on to share more happy and blissful moments about how he proposed to his now wife, Andee. The two were wed in a Civil Hall ceremony back in October.

Read the full GQ article about Tremaine Emory’s “Near Death and Rebirth” profile here.