Courtesy of Chipotle
Two decades ago, Chipotle Mexican Grill made a name for itself by adopting the motto "food with integrity" — intended to highlight the quality of the chain's ingredients and sourcing. But a long-term commitment to quality won't constantly grab headlines, so recently, Chipotle has taken the opposite approach: quick hit gimmicks!
Two weeks ago, Chipotle struck quirky gold with the release of its "Water" Cup Candle, which was scented like lemonade as a humorous ode to customers who cheated the system by asking for a water cup but actually filled it with soda. Chipotle says the candles sold out in under four minutes.
Then, today, a new novelty product: Chipotle Napkin Cargo Pants.
For the strange item, the burrito chain teamed up with Nicole McLaughlin, billed as "the internet's favorite upcycle designer." McLaughlin has amassed over 800,000 Instagram followers by posting her unique handcrafted items like a glove constructed from old tennis balls to an undergarment made from a JanSport backpack. She's previously made shorts from things like Haribo gummy bags. And for this project, Chipotle commissioned her to make cargo pants (with zip-off legs to transform them into shorts) made from Chipotle's recognizable brown napkins.
Similar to the "Water" Cup Candle, these Napkin Cargo Pants originally began life as a joke on Chipotle's social media accounts. An image of Chipotle Deluxe Napkin Shorts ("Hand Wash Only") was posted to Instagram in June 2021. These Napkin Shorts were then added in the Chipotle Burrito Builder Experience in the video game Roblox this past April and "quickly became one of Chipotle's most popular virtual items on the platform," according to the brand.
From there, the chain decided to make them in real life — and even tried to tie the whole concept back to their reputation for food with integrity. "With our commitment to sustainable food and fashion, Nicole was the perfect partner to help us bring the 'Napkin Cargo Pants' to life tastefully and responsibly," Chipotle's chief marketing officer Chris Brandt stated.
Unfortunately, Chipotle says, for now, they are neither selling these cargo pants, nor giving them away as part of a contest. It means your only hope is to try to recreate them yourself. Just try not to act suspicious while grabbing an insane number of Chipotle napkins.