How Bernie Became President of the Rare-Merch Game

Meet the indie makers (and Instagram style-lords) raising his campaign's 2020 drip quotient

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Bernie Sanders, coming off wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, is the Democratic frontrunner, but in the race to elect 2020's Rare-Merch Prez, he's already the uncontested winner. Yes, he's boosted youth turnout and inspired more people to donate to his campaign than any candidate in U.S. history. But an under-recognized phenomenon in Sanders' rise is the small army of indie designers crafting extremely fresh, extremely limited-edition Bernie gear. 

We recently spotted a fantastic example in a great place to spot great clothes: GQ associate style editor Samuel Hine's Instagram stories... 
This one's from Los Angeles' Come Tees, who, like the other indie makers discussed here, are donating the proceeds to Sanders. On Instagram, Come Tees designer Sonya Sombreuil praised the "people's movement" around Sanders, which aims, she wrote, "to dismantle corporate greed and its stronghold on society." As H.T.G. readers know, we are suckers for a rare Rage Against the Machine shirt, so we copped one of these instantaneously.   
Meanwhile, the people at L.A.'s highly on-trend Cactus Store have made an ingenious cactus-themed Bernie t-shirt of their own. No less a proven swagger-don than New Yorker culture writer Naomi Fry was recently spotted on the gram flexing hard in one of them: 
You can't write about Bernie's unlikely fashion-world appeal without mentioning his logo -- by far the best of any candidate's, to the landslide degree that noted logo-jacker Demna Gvasalia famously ripped it off for a Balenciaga collection, as this illustration from Throwing Fits (our favorite fashion-world podcast) delightfully captures:
Further below the radar, H.T.G. buddy Small Talk Studio put us on to two t-shirt designs from Oakland artist and self-described "queer maker of junk" Alex Uhrich, a.k.a. Truth Lizard, who's selling them for $20-$25 each, shipped. "I used to be somebody who thought they were too punk to vote, disillusioned by the two party system," Uhrich wrote, but "this truly is a grassroots movement, by and for people like you and I."
Not to be outdone in the rare-tee game, the Sanders campaign itself is currently selling a limited run of the shirts they hawked at the recent Bernie / Strokes concert in New Hampshire. You can go Casablancas mode in this one for a $27 donation: 
- Come Tees shirt, $40, here
- Cactus Store shirt, $30, here
- Balenciaga shirt, ridiculously $360, here
- Truth Lizard shirt, $20, here
- Bernie / Strokes shirt, $27, here
- And you can find Bernie Sanders events near you here