If you happen to be near a Supreme store on a Thursday around 11am, you’re likely to see hundreds of people waiting in a barricaded line for the latest drop. Some have been there for days, sleeping on the sidewalk to claim their place. It’s the cool kid equivalent of waiting for the new iPhone—except Supreme clothes are as technologically proficient as a brick (which Supreme also sold). The line is as ritualistic as the brand itself, and has helped propel it further into the stratosphere of exclusive yet accessibly priced products.

Even though Supreme only lets a small number of people in its stores at once—the New York store is approximately 1,000 square feet—the demand for its products vastly outstrips the supply, and these lines can stretch blocks for hours and hours. The bouncers tasked with keeping order have said that the job can be more intense than managing admission to a New York nightclub. Bribes, which are common in both scenarios, are comically lower at Supreme, where young kids often offer $20 bills. For almost everyone, the only way to get into the store is to wait in line—a hand stamp at the door confirms the rite of passage.

Sure, the people in the line have changed over the years as the rising value of Supreme’s products in the secondary market attract more resellers. But the demand from real customers remains strong; even as Supreme slackens its grip on older customers, it becomes cool to younger ones—and the cycle continues. Its robust collaboration strategy also reels in new demographics: Supreme’s recent collaboration with Rimowa gave way to hoards more than lines, particularly in Europe.

Just a few blocks away from Supreme, you’ll see a line of one or two dozen people outside of Everlane’s New York store. But upon closer inspection, the store—double the size of Supreme’s at about 2,000 square feet—is kept artificially half empty, which creates the small line on the sidewalk outside. A topic of conversation both inside and outside of the industry, customers easily catch on to this lack of authenticity—some even suggest to their friends that they should make their purchases online instead. In contrast, Supreme customers can’t choose the digital route—online, products are either unavailable or priced infinitely higher than in store.

While it may seem contrived to compare a cult brand like Supreme to a basics brand like Everlane, their opposition paints a picture of the line as it exists in retail today. The concept is not new, but recently, companies have perfected and expanded it. While in some ways, lines are entirely artificial—they are a function of supply, which the brand controls—the authenticity of the line is what allows brands to stand apart.

Supreme intentionally makes a small run of every product compared to existing demand, which fuels hysteria for the brand. But because this is core to the brand’s DNA, the effect—and the lines—are accepted, as contrived as they are. Everlane, conversely, is a scale-based basics brand that makes an endless supply of its products, which is why its lines are so contrary to its identity. The store should be more like Uniqlo, where shoppers can walk in and walk out as needed.

A line needs to align with the brand. If it doesn’t, it can actually do more bad than good. People will only wait for something if they believe it’s worth it.