2020 hopeful Andrew Yang sold a new batch of campaign merchandise – co-designed by rapper Childish Gambino – at a Los Angeles pop-up store in the hours leading up to Thursday night’s Democratic debate.
Yang, known for his innovative campaign tactics, followed in the footsteps of companies like Supreme, the skateboarding shop that creates media moments by releasing limited batches of products – creating hype for the brand, and long lines outside.
Yang’s supporters lined up for blocks around the Fairfax Avenue shop, just for the opportunity to buy a signed hoodie for $1000 – of which there were only 10 for sale – or a camouflage MATH hat for $40.
The store opening marked Childish Gambino’s – also known as Donald Glover – official endorsement of Yang.
‘Donald is such an innovator. He sees the future very clearly and when we sat down together I felt like he was a kindred spirit,’ Yang told reporters huddled inside the small shop.
President candidate Andrew Yang (left) chats with rapper and actor Childish Gambino (right) at a Yang 2020 pop-up store that opened its doors in Los Angeles Thursday
The top price point for the merchandise was $1,000 for a signed hoodie – of which only 10 were sold
The limited edition Andrew Yang-Childish Gambino merchandise as seen from outside the pop-up store Thursday in Los Angeles
The rapper Childish Gambino stayed away from the press, but could be seen behind the curtain between the storefront and the pop-up’s back room
Some of the ‘Yang Gang’ poses outside the Los Angeles pop-up store on Friday. A line of supporters stretched several blocks
One member of the ‘Yang Gang’ holds up a large MATH sign as she waits in line for the L.A. pop-up store
An Andrew Yang supporter on stilts greets the crowd waiting outside the Los Angeles pop-up shop that sold merchandise from his collaboration with Donald Glover
Yang also explained how the two linked up.
‘He reached out to my team through an agent here in L.A. that we had a connection to,’ the candidate said.
The press shy Glover, sporting a golden beanie, could be seen through a curtain separating the shop from the storeroom.
Yang did – and chatted up the shoppers.
‘Is is OK if I go say hi to the line outside?’ Yang asked a campaign staffer at one point.
He was told no.
The candidate went up to the store’s window instead to wave to supporters who started a Yang chant.
He also explained to reporters that the $1,000 hoodie was priced as such because it’s the same amount Yang would give to Americans monthly as a ‘Freedom Dividend’ – his term for universal basic income, which has been the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
The $1,000 hoodies were signed by both Yang and Glover and said, appropriately, ‘$1K.’ A regular hoodie at the pop-up retailed for $100, posters were $25 and hats were between $40 and $50.
The hats said both ‘$1K’ and ‘MATH,’ Yang’s spin on Trump’s campaign slogan – ‘Make America Think Harder.’
His collaboration with Glover had been announced Wednesday in an Instagram post that provided very little information except a Los Angeles address.
Moses Chung, a 39-year-old music promotion events entrepreneur and member of the so-called ‘Yang Gang,’ explained to DailyMail.com that was the point.
‘It was very mysterious. All we know – we don’t even know what kind of merch they’re dropping. All we know is that Donald Glover is here to endorse Andrew Yang and they’re dropping merch to support the campaign,’ Chung explained as he waited for the store to open.
Chung mentioned how it was modeled after the company Supreme, which is located in Los Angeles right down the street from the Yang-Glover pop-up and also featured a long line outside.
‘You hype [it] up and you kind of get the interest and engagement up by limiting the supply and that’s exactly what they did,’ Chung said.
Yang is one of just seven Democratic candidates who will appear onstage Thursday night at the presidential primary debate on the campus of Loyola Marymount University.
The Democratic National Committee keeps setting higher thresholds for candidates to meet to make the debate stage.
Between October and December those rules squeezed two candidates of color off the stage, former HUD Director Julian Castro and Sen. Cory Booker, while Sen. Kamala Harris, dropped out.
That makes Yang the only candidate of color who is currently participating in the Democratic primary debates.