Power Players

Silicon Valley, Wall Street set may need a new favorite uniform, as Patagonia shifts policy on its famous fleece

Dara Khosrowshahi, now CEO of Uber, on July 7, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho
Drew Angerer | Getty

On a typical weekday in Manhattan, it's not uncommon to see a group of young men all wearing virtually the same outfit: slacks and a button-down shirt topped with a Patagonia vest that's emblazoned with a finance company's logo. There's even an Instagram account dedicated to the look. The fleece is also popular in Silicon Valley and has been dubbed "the power vest."

But as Buzzfeed points out, Patagonia may have just put a dent in the uniform's proliferation: The company announced it is shifting its policy about selling corporate-branded clothing.

On Tuesday, Patagonia said its corporate sales program — in which businesses are able to purchase clothing in bulk, customized with their own company's name or logo — will now prioritize companies that are charitable or mission-driven.

"Our corporate sales program manages Patagonia's sales to other companies, non-profits and other organizations," Patagonia said in statement. "We recently shifted the focus of this program to increase the number of Certified B Corporations, 1% For The Planet members and other mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet. This shift does not affect current customers in our corporate sales program."

"Certified B Corporation" is a certification that measures a company's social and environmental performance, and assesses companies on how they impact workers, the community, the environment and customers, and the organization 1% For The Planet requires members to donate the equivalent of 1 percent of sales through a combination of monetary, in-kind or approved advertising contributions to environmental causes.

The change aligns with the company's mission: "We're in business to save our home planet." The popular outdoor retailer, which sells everything from sleeping bags to alpine pants to its famous fleeces, made headlines in 2018 for donating its $10 million tax cut to environmental groups.

Over the past few years, the company's co-branded vests and jackets — particularly the fleece and puffer versions — have quickly become a staple in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street.

Now, under Patagonia's "Qualifications and How To Order" section in its spring 2019 corporate sales catalog, the retailer states, "For each order, we require disclosure as to the type of company whose name will appear on the Patagonia product and how the product will be used. We reserve the right to refuse service."

And apparently the company has already started rejecting people.  

As Buzzfeed points out, the president of communications agency Vested tweeted the rejection email she received when attempting to place an order for a client through a reseller of Patagonia's corporate products.

Don't miss: Wall Street bonuses were 3x the earnings of all full-time workers making federal minimum wage

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