‘Vote the a**holes out’: Patagonia takes a stance ahead of 2020 election

Kerry Justich
·2 mins read
Patagonia put a secret message on the tag of its Road to Regenerative shorts. (Photo: Patagonia)
Patagonia put a secret message on the tag of its Road to Regenerative shorts. (Photo: Patagonia)

Patagonia is making a not-so-subtle statement ahead of the November election with a message inscribed onto a tag inside a pair of the brand’s shorts.

“Vote the a**holes out,” the tag on the men’s and women’s “Road to Regenerative Stand Up Shorts” reads. And although people initially thought it was a joke or even a mistake by the brand, Patagonia confirms to Yahoo Life that the message was intentional.

The shorts, which sold out on Wednesday according to Fast Company, started gaining attention last week when a photo of the tag was posted to Twitter, inciting a debate over whether or not it was real. But it didn’t take long for the brand’s director of copy, Brad Wieners, to chime in with verification. “Real,” he tweeted.

Patagonia is selling a pair of shorts with a controversial tag. (Photo: Courtesy of Patagonia)
Patagonia is selling a pair of shorts with a controversial tag. (Photo: Courtesy of Patagonia)

Now, the brand is making sure their customers vote. “We have been standing up to climate deniers for almost as long as we’ve been making those shorts,” Patagonia spokesperson Tessa Byars says.

The brand’s ethos stems from the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, who has used the saying, “Vote the a**holes out” for several years. “It refers to politicians from any party who deny or disregard the climate crisis and ignore science, not because they aren’t aware of it, but because their pockets are lined with money from oil and gas interests,” Byars explains.

Chouinard’s stance is nothing new. As the founder of the global movement 1% for the Planet, Chouinard has committed one percent of Patagonia’s annual sales to environmental causes since 2002. “Vote for the planet and against those who would do nothing,” he wrote in an April letter to the 1% of the Planet community. “We have the power and now is the time to use it.”

On the activism section of its website, Patagonia also features ways to become politically involved. And the brand shared with the Washington Post that it will be giving paid time off to employees who volunteer as poll workers.

Byars tells Yahoo Life that Patagonia’s goal is to not re-print the tag in the future. “We hope we can help elect climate leaders on Nov. 3 and that we don’t need to make them again next year… or ever again,” she says.

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