Apparel

Patagonia clothing company has hidden election message for customers

Christian Peña
Patagonia jackets are displayed at the company's booth during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show in Salt Lake City.
George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The outdoor clothing company Patagonia has come up with a unique way of encouraging its customers to voice their concerns about the environment: A label with "Vote the a--holes out" is being woven into some of its new shorts.

Outlander Magazine was first to report the news, posting a weekend tweet highlighting the activist message. A Patagonia spokesperson, Tessa Byers, confirmed to NBC News that its 2020 "Men's and Women's Road to Regenerative" organic stand-up shorts contain the message underneath the inside tag.

"We have been standing up to climate deniers for almost as long as we've been making those shorts," Byers said. The message is not explicitly directed at the current administration but is one that Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has used for years, according to Byers.

"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," Byers said.

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The move from the California-based activist brand comes as close to 100 wildfires burn millions of acres across the West Coast, and amid a slew of lawsuits filed by towns and cities across the country alleging that the oil and gas industry acted deceptively about its role in climate change.

It's not the first time Patagonia has made headlines for trying to hold politicians accountable for their actions. In 2017, the company sued President Donald Trump after he issued a proclamation to reduce the size of Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

While Trump argued that he was reversing federal overreach, tribal leaders and environmentalists said the president's move would jeopardize a wealth of Native American artifacts, dinosaur fossils and rugged spaces.

Patagonia's new tag has received mixed reviews, with some dismissing it as a marketing ploy while others have thanked the company for its longstanding social activism and say they hope the tag will ignite positive change.

"As parts of our country are literally burning and being destroyed by the effects of climate change, this couldn't be more welcome," state Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Ga., tweeted. "Way past time to listen to the experts and do something. Vote like your planet is on fire!"