“Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” may debut new episodes on Sundays, but its latest installment shows that the point can still get across throughout the week.
In a recent episode that focused on the ultra-popular streetwear brand Supreme, “Patriot Act” combined an examination of how modern consumer hype is manufactured and what forces might be contributing to it behind the scenes. Looking at the concept of conspicuous consumption, the episode also outlined how 50% of Supreme is now controlled by the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm the show traced down to military profits and defense spending.
To further illustrate the Carlyle Group’s involvement in the company — and the idea that Supreme liberally borrowed the idea for its iconic bright red box logo from the artist Barbara Kruger — the show launched the Carlyle Supremium website, offering a limited amount of parody Supreme white t-shirts based on a number of concepts from the episode, including one that reads “Barbara Kruger Was Right.”
The show sold an original run of 100 shirts each at $7.75 — at cost, according to a post on the limited campaign’s official website. Naturally, that supply was gone overnight, sending some of that stock into the secondary market.
The shirt has even popped up on some of the sites “Patriot Act” cited in its original piece. StockX has a “Defense Contractor” shirt for $50. But one shirt in particular is already fetching triple digits on eBay: At the time of posting, “Private Equity” was going for $128.50 with two more days left to bid on it. Strange to think that these are the ones being fought over, instead of “Oil and Gas” and “Corporation,” but unless those 30 people bidding on the shirt are all secretly the same person, the show’s statement is tapping into a strange niche market.
Watch the “Patriot Act” Supreme segment below, with a full, detailed explanation of why they made things in the first place: