The Carlyle Supremium

In an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act that focused on the streetwear brand Supreme, Hasan Minhaj examined hype culture and how hype streetwear is produced. Minhaj related hype culture to the concept of conspicuous consumption and pointed out the ridiculousness of the lucrative resale industry created by hype culture. Minhaj also brought attention to the fact that 50% of Supreme is now controlled by the Carlyle Group, a private equity linked to military profits and defense contracting.

To drive his point home, Hasan Minhaj launched the Carlyle Supremium website and sold a limited amount of parody Supreme white t-shirts with slogans referencing the Carlyle Group’s involvement in Supreme. Some shirts read “Private Equity”, “Oil and Gas”, “Defense Contracting” and “Corporation”. Minhaj parodizes hype culture further when he describes the shirts as a “collab” between Supreme and the Carlyle Group and “perfect for wearing 72 hours straight while you wait in line outside a store for a new product launch”.

The website features a home page and an about page where he says “Carlyle are the real ballers that people should know and love, and everyone should recognize them as the force behind the street-wear brand Supreme. Whether it’s oil production, defense contracting, or acquiring a stake in top fashion companies, Carlyle is absolutely killing it right now and people need to hear about it!” He utilizes dramatic irony in his public declaration of admiration for the Carlyle Group because the private equity has been actively trying to keep their connections secret.

Through his parody website, Minhaj suggests that hype culture is a nonsensical form of modern day conspicuous consumption and that it should not be as widely celebrated and participated in as it is. He also suggests that society should be more conscious of where our clothing is coming from and who we are really buying from.

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