Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Gap, Urban Outfitters, Prabal Gurung, & Other Stories all have one thing in common: they are telling you to vote. And the list goes on. Why are they suddenly so involved with their customers’ lives? Or have they always been? Here’s our analysis.
Cover photo: © Louis Vuitton, Giovanni Giannoni
Why you should vote – according to the fashion industry
As the end of the final month of the US presidental elections comes closer, many brands encourage their customers to vote. Pyer Moss gave a rebirth to the ‘Vote or Die’ shirt that once was popular in 2004. Voting-themed merchandise has become more popular than ever. That a brand like Pyer Moss interferes with civic duty isn’t new, the brand was founded as a fashion label concerned with building a narrative that speaks about heritage and activism. However Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Stuart Weizman, to name a few, weren’t.
A way of (re-)connection
Are these voting-themed clothes new to the fashion industry? For some brands they are, but overall it shows how deeply politics are rooted into fashion and society as a whole. For many fashion labels, telling their customers to vote is a way of connecting with them.
However, it can be tricky as well. Amongst many others, Tory Burch created merchandise for Joe Biden’s campaign. Where most brands avoid to speak about their political preference out loud, a dozen of brands did. Whether these actions will lead to a decrease or increase in sales is still uncertain. One thing that is certain, though, is that brands need to show their responsibility and social involvement now more than ever. Just like with the Black Lives Matter movement, it can do serious harm to say nothing or to get stuck in shallow conversations, while not taking true action.
Therefore, promoting a free democracy is the safest bet at the moment. At least, when done right. Brands are expected to donate a high percentage of their sales to a good cause, preferably to NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund or something related. Propagating important values is important to connect with the younger generation as well; Gen Z expects brands to live their values, something millenials haven’t taken so closely over the past years. With the current state of the world, recruiting first-time voters as new fans of your brand is a good idea. Let their values and actions inspire your brand’s future decisions.