As a sneakerhead himself, comic Hasan Minhaj had a ball talking apart Supreme for “Patriot Act,” his weekly show with Netflix. In the video, Minhaj initially breaks down the meaning of streetwear and then pivots into a critique of all that is good, bad and ugly about streetwear king Supreme.
Minhaj’s jabs about Suprme wanting to keep its partnership with The Carlisle Group low key are especially effective. Minhaj highlights some of the Carlisle Group’s less cool investments, including oil drilling, coal mining and military contracting. He also points out the company is the majority shareholder of WESCO, which has a contract with BAE Systems, a British defense company. Bitingly, Minhaj states, “Together WESCO and BAE support a fighter jet called the Typhoon, which is used by the Saudis to bomb Yemen. This is a company that profits off of war and obesity.”
Piling on, Minhaj describes The Carlisle Group investment in Supreme as a collabo, one that Supreme is oddly quiet about. In celebration of their partnership, Minhaj created a limited edition capsule of box logo t-shirts on which the word Supreme has been swapped out for “corporation,” defense contractor,” “oil and gas,” “private equity” and “Barbar Kruger was right.”
He also highlights the hypocrisy of Supreme choosing to sue companies who copy its box logo, and highlights the famed “clusterfuck of jokers” email sent to Complex by Kruger, who inspired the brand’s famed box logo.
With all the sharp commentary, it’s a bummer to see Minhaj completely erase Leah McSweeney, founder of Married to the Mob, from the Kruger story. This matters because Supreme actually has only ever sued McSweeney because of Married to the Mob merchandise featuring a “Supreme bitch” box logo. Kruger’s email was a response to the fall out from the lawsuit so with no McSweeney, there is no email.
At the same time, Minhaj chooses to amplify NPD footwear analyst Matt Powell, who uses sell through data from retailers to analyze athletic shoe and apparel trends. While Powell makes for a great visual gag simply because he looks like someone’s grouchy grandfather, he’s also notoriously ill-informed when it comes to the dynamics of sneaker culture and being blocked by him on Twitter is something of a badge of honor among sneaker lovers.
What great knowledge did Powell impart in his portion of the segment? That supply and demand are inextricably tied, the world’s most basic economic theory that even 13-year-old sneaker flippers understand.
Despite the disappointingly predictable bro-culture moments, the episode is an excellent commentary on the streetwear space and much-needed one on the meaning of Supreme’s partnership.
Check out the episode below.