Joe and Jill Biden voted Monday at a state building in Delaware. Biden said they did so because he is traveling to Florida today. Upon leaving the building, Jill Biden’s boots caught the attention of some in the media. She was sporting black leather boots with large silver lettering spelling out VOTE.
It struck me as an odd choice for a woman her age, like she borrowed a pair of boots from her daughter or something, but this is 2020. I shrugged and made note of them. It turns out that they are made by designer Stuart Weitzman and a “first look” of the boots was posted on social media in August. The Instagram post touts the boot as a limited edition with only 100 pairs available.
Your first look is here: Cast your eyes on the limited-edition #5050VOTE boot. A new take on our iconic 5050 boot, designed for innovation and impact. Dropping exclusively here on Instagram on 8.23.2020 — for 24 hours only. Only 100 pairs available. @iamavoter #StuartWeitzman pic.twitter.com/mH9JKoTaTE
— Stuart Weitzman (@StuartWeitzman) August 21, 2020
CNN’s Kate Bennett was quick to post a tweet with a close-up look at Dr. Jill’s boots, to which actress Roseanne Arquette, in reference to a Nancy Sinatra song classic, replied, “These boots are made for walkin and that’s just what they’ll do one of these day These boots are gonna walk all over you Mr trump..” And, continuing to carry water for Jill Biden, Bennett reports that those aren’t really limited edition boots, heck, anyone can buy them. Anyone, that is, that spends $700 on boots. (I would post Kate Bennett’s tweet but she blocked me a long time ago.)
As Dr. Biden and her husband, Joe, left the state building in Wilmington, Delaware, today, cameras snapped her Stuart Weitzman boots, which featured silver text with a simple four-letter message: VOTE. CNN’s Kate Bennett confirmed that the style isn’t a special, limited-edition release made just for Jill Biden. The shoes are available for anyone who wants them for $695. The 5050 Vote Boot is Stuart Weitzman’s latest spin on its fan-favorite 5050 boot, a flat OTK style that’s beloved for comfort and versatility thanks to soft nappa leather and a full-elastic back panel. Anyone looking to share Dr. Biden’s message can opt for her flashy silver-on-black style or a more subtle black-on-black option. Both are still available.
Yeah, a woman Dr. Jill’s age should have gone the subtle route but then she wouldn’t have made the splash with the tacky large silver lettering, right? Perhaps Jill was trying to one-up Michelle Obama’s necklace worn during the Democrat convention. It spelled out VOTE in gold letters. Liberal women in the media swooned over that, too. By the way, I’d like to point out that that the couple’s trip to the state building to vote shows it is safe to vote in-person. Instead of flashing a message on her boots, she could have encouraged people to get out and vote in person in November. If Sleepy Joe, pushing 80 years of age, and his 69-year-old wife can vote in person, anyone can.
Proceeds from the sale of the boots go to a nonpartisan non-profit organization. I’m always a skeptic when an organization is labeled as nonpartisan, but that could just be me. In 2020 is anything nonpartisan?
Decisions are made by those who show up. Your vote matters. Every vote counts. To support voter participation, 100% of proceeds from sales of our #5050VOTE boots will be donated to the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization @iamavoter_ .
— Stuart Weitzman (@StuartWeitzman) August 24, 2020
I’ve written about Melania Trump’s fashion choices and the political statements she makes with her clothes. Except for that Zara jacket she wore in front of the press to tweak them with the text on the back that said, “I don’t care. Do you?”, Melania’s fashion statements are subtle and tasteful, in my opinion. Other women use fashion for political messages, too. Instead of boasting that they won’t dress Melania this year, fashion designers are now creating clothes that push a message – register and vote.
The fashion industry went big for Hillary in 2016. Vogue endorsed her – a first in the magazine’s history. So did the editor of Glamour. Now the industry is selling more than accessories and t-shirts. Now there is “a critical mass of initiatives from designers and retailers, all geared toward harnessing the power of social media, where fashion is a foundational force, to drive civic involvement.” Fashion lines have created websites with voting information. Some designers are using their social media platforms with an Action Button to facilitate voter registration. Projects are being created with Michelle Obama’s voter registration initiative. The jewelry designer of Obama’s VOTE necklace is involved with 19 retailers that include QR codes on all receipts to facilitate registration.
And that doesn’t include the voter awareness projects of stores including Saks, which will devote its Fifth Avenue windows to moments in voting history and host registration booths inside, Nordstrom, Cos and H & M USA. Or the VOTE merch created by Michael Kors and Stuart Weitzman and outdoor brands like Keen, which is collaborating with the Jerry Garcia family on a #VoteLove shoe and campaign.
A big push is to encourage younger voters to register and vote. Their participation in voting in 2016 was lower than normal for that demographic. American Eagle Outfitters has partnered with HeadCount, a nonprofit that works with musicians to promote voter registration and participation in the election process. It is selling voting inspired t-shirts with profits going to the nonprofit. The retailer has also launched its Vote 2020 Action Center. Shoppers and employees can register to vote and sign up for election reminders. And, corporate employees will have November 3 off to volunteer at polling places and vote. Giving Election Day off this year is a big trend with corporate America this year.
An increasing number of brands are engaging in efforts to get out the vote: Keds and Birdies are among those that have launched consumer-facing initiatives through product to whip up excitement ahead of November, while Birkenstock, Steve Madden and Nike have pledged to close their offices on Election Day to give employees an opportunity to head to the polls. Separately, Old Navy is paying its store employees to work the polls, while Nordstrom partnered with two nonprofits to offer digital volunteer opportunities, curbside voter registration and a suite of other resources to encourage voter education and participation.
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America has also introduced online hub ShoeVoter.info to provide members of the shoe industry a range of information, including their state’s registration rules and deadlines, absentee ballot guidelines, voting locations and requirements, plus a list of candidates in their district.
Old Navy, Tory Burch, and Target are paying employees to be poll workers. Patagonia and Blue Apron plan to close down on Election Day so their employees can vote and serve as poll workers. Uber made Election Day a paid company holiday this year so its employees can volunteer and vote. You get the picture. Some of this has been inspired by the national shortage of poll workers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Walmart, Nike, J.Crew, and Warby Parker all joined the Time to Vote coalition this year- a nonpartisan pledge to give employees time off to vote. Politics is everywhere, including in fashion and retail business. Apparently Donald Trump is making voting great again.