“Congratulations!” I say to the youngsters leaving the Supreme Store as if they had completed a marathon. There were lines in the past at Supreme, when “drops” occurred, but in recent years the lines have grown and are constant. Security personnel now break the line into several groups to prevent pedestrian blockage, and it usually extends down Crosby, so getting to the front door can actually take as long as running a marathon.
Hasan Minhaj tried to explain why young folks like him, participate in this apparently bizarre behavior by pointing to the desire for exclusivity. He even dropped a reference to Thorstein Veblen (not “Max” as a Slate headline read in apparent confusion with Weber) to support this thesis. But the bulk of his theory relies on an interview with sneaker expert Matt Powell. Minhaj basically let slide Powell’s absurd claim that sneakers are not made in sweatshops. A little research finds a Guardian story about 360 Cambodian workers collapsing from heat at factories supplying Nike, Puma and Asics. Ten hour days, in conditions that cause fainting sounds like the definition of a sweatshop to me.
Minhaj skipped this to make a point about the recent 50% investment in the brand by The Carlyle Group, a company that has a controlling stake in Wesco Aircraft Holdings which helps produce a fighter jet used by the Saudi’s to bomb Yemen. Minhaj’s reveal will probably not discourage Supreme deification, but according to Powell, the downfall of Supreme is imminent when Carlyle floods the market with product to meet its half billion valuation. At that point kids will start lining up at the next store on a chilly winter day, and I’ll be there to capture it!