As if to coincide with prestigious science publication Scientific American’s first ever presidential endorsement in its 175-year history (it backed Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the upcoming US election explaining that they were “compelled to do so… because [Trump] rejects evidence and science”) pioneering sustainable outdoor retailer Patagonia is also making its political position clear with a garment tag that reads “VOTE THE ASSHOLES OUT”.
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Customers began circulating images of these tags on social media upon discovering the message on the clothing tags on Patagonia’s Regenerative Organic Stand-Up Shorts. While initially thought to be a hoax, Patagonia confirmed that the move was intentional. “We have been standing up to climate deniers for almost as long as we’ve been making those shorts,” a spokesperson told CNN. The spokesperson explained that Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, has used the phrase for years in response “to politicians from any party who deny or disregard the climate crisis and ignore science.”
Patagonia director of copy Brad Wieners, whose resume includes stints at Wired and Outside Magazine, also verified that the tags were genuine in a recent tweet where he also directed followers to a page on the Patagonia website devoted to the US election that prompts its customers to, “Vote Climate Deniers Out of Office”.
Patagonia isn’t new to the use of clever marketing to make its political stances known. In 2017, when the Trump administration announced its decision to roll back protections on roughly two million acres of land in national monuments including Utah’s ?Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Patagonia took to social media and its website’s homepage to respond to the move with a stark message that read: “The President Stole Your Land.”
The company also went on to sue the Trump administration. Former Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario (who stepped down from the position earlier this year) said, “It was the biggest elimination of public lands in a pen stroke. We’ve been protecting wilderness for decades and our customers respect nature, so if the current administration wants to sell off our cultural heritage to the highest bidder, then we’re going to do everything we can to fight it.”
With so much at stake in this year’s election, science-respecting, eco-conscious businesses feel a responsibility not to sit on the political fence in case of another Trump victory. In these times of transformation and upheaval it seems everything is political.
And let’s face it, is there really such a thing as being apolitical? Really?
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Cover image via Patagonia.