The “Believe in Better” line features items from Vera Wang and other high-profile fashion designers.
Perhaps never before has the term “fashion-forward” been so apt for describing a political candidate’s branded merchandise collection.
The just-launched “Believe in Better” collection from the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris 2020 presidential campaign features swag designed by 17 high-profile American fashion designers, including Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Joseph Altuzarra and Aurora James.
The campaign says each piece was manufactured in the United States at unionized factories. While big-name designers made the products, none of the gear costs more than $60.
“We are in a battle to restore the soul of our nation, and we’re seeing Americans across the country come together in a variety of ways to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because they are leaders we need to heal and unite the country,” said Rufus Gifford, Biden’s deputy campaign manager. “I thank these designers for volunteering their time and talents to help win this election and the hardworking men and women who brought these designs to life.”
Monique Péan’s “Unity” face mask highlights a key theme of the Biden/Harris campaign – the restoration of American unity and civility.
Fashion designers have banded together to support Democratic presidential campaign candidates before. Some made T-shirts for Hillary Clinton’s run in 2016, and there was Barack Obama’s “Runway to Change” and “Runway to Win” campaign efforts. Still, fashion authority Vogue notes, that Biden’s Believe in Better collection “represents the most varied offering yet.”
Messaging, design and styling in the merchandise all aim to advance the image of Biden/Harris as the candidates of diversity and inclusion.
Jonathan Cohen designed this T-shirt encouraging people to vote for Biden/Harris.
For instance, in a sign of the COVID-impacted times, there’s a face mask from Monique Péan that reads “Unity.” Jonathan Cohen, meanwhile, designed a T-shirt with the word “VOTE” spelled out in flowers, with a tagline underneath that which reads “Unity Over Division.” A crewneck sweatshirt from Jason Wu says “Rebuild With Love.” Tapping into the tie-dye trend and 1960s counterculture peace/love vibes associated with the look, Joe Perez and Gabriela Hearst created tie-dye T-shirts.
Gabriela Hearst designed this tie-dye T-shirt.
Among other offerings, there’s a “Believe in Better” crop top from Carly Cushnie, and a crewneck sweatshirt from Aurora James of Brother Vellies that speaks to what the designer says is the pivotal role Black women have to play in the election. That sweatshirt says, “We Make The Difference. Black Women For Biden/Harris 2020.”
Carly Cushnie designed this crop top.
Vogue reported that the James design harkens to election merch from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, including Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson’s campaigns. “This is the fight of our lives, and we need to do everything we can to energize people to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and I’m incredibly proud to have made this,” James said. “I really wanted to make something that specifically addressed Black women’s impact in this election and how important we are to this election.”
Aurora James sought to make a strong, encouraging statement with this crewneck.
Meanwhile, Altuzarra designed floral scarves/bandannas. He was inspired by the history of the scarf and how it was used during the American Revolution, struggles for workers’ rights, and as a way for gay men to identify each other during the 1970s, Vogue reported. The bandanna’s ability to also serve as a face covering was intentional.
“I wanted to design something that really met the moment and the 2020 significance of the bandanna is really as a mask,” Altuzarra said. “That was crucial to me.”
Scarves/bandannas have significance in the struggles for workers’ rights and LGBTQ rights, which is why Joseph Altuzarra created this floral bandanna/scarf.