Surprise, Surprise: Supreme T-shirt for COVID-19 Relief Falls Victim to Resellers
Supreme, arguably the biggest name in the streetwear world these days, announced that it’s partnering with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami for a T-shirt and donating all profits of the collaboration to HELP USA, an organization battling homelessness during COVID-19.
But, since Supreme is also the biggest name in the streetwear resale world right now, the items ostensibly created to battle a real issue are being sold on resale sites.
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COVID-19 Relief Box Logo Tee. 04/24/2020 Supreme will release a benefit Box Logo Tee to support youth and families facing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Box Logo Tee features original artwork by Takashi Murakami. 100% of proceeds will go to HELP USA. For more information visit www.helpusa.org/. Available online only in the US and Canada on Friday, April 24th. COVID-19 Relief Box Logo Tee - $60
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Dazed reported that the shirt created for this program, which dropped last week and sold out immediately, has already been listed almost 170 times on eBay, where it’s going for as high as $1,450.
On StockX, a popular sneaker and streetwear resale site, the item has been sold 965 times with an average price tag of $587. GQ reported that Grailed, another streetwear site, sold more than 50 of them with an average price of $988.
By the way, the shirt was originally sold by Supreme for $60.
For what it’s worth, StockX and Grailed both reportedly said they’d donate “a sum of money” to HELP USA through this sale, but the exact figure wasn’t specified.
“We've been listening closely to our community's feedback regarding this unique Supreme release,” Grailed wrote in a statement. “Grailed’s proceeds from all sales of the Takashi Murakami x Supreme Box Logo t-shirts will be donated directly back to HELP USA.”
StockX said that it would donate “proceeds from Supreme COVID-19 relief tees to charity,” but that’s sort of vague.
On the eBay side of things, that’s obviously up to the seller. So, unless they’re feeling particularly charitable, that’s an enormous price markup and profit that likely won’t end up with the desired recipient, though at least the charity presumably got a cut of the original purchase.
This brings up the question of where we draw an ethical line between resellers trying to make a buck by capitalizing on hype and exclusivity and standing in the way of a program created to help homelessness in the U.S. On one hand, it’s good that the T-shirts sold out from Supreme immediately, so the money they had envisioned going to HELP USA is going to HELP USA.
But, realistically, everyone involved in this or anyone who has ever paid a tiny bit of attention to how Supreme clothes move on aftermarket sites, probably knew that these T-shirts were going to go for insane prices on other sites, and that a lot of that money is going to go right to the resellers, not the people Supreme originally had in mind.