Somewhere behind a Bloomberg terminal, there’s a dude clutching the lapels of his Patagonia fleece vest. It may be the last one he ever owns, at least with the logo of his bank or private equity firm embroidered on the front. In recent years, the Patagonia vest has become a wardrobe staple and status symbol for aspiring young titans of industry, inspiring countless memes and tribute Instagram accounts like @midtownuniform. But today, the status of the fleece vest in the fintech world is under threat: Patagonia announced that it has changed its policy on corporate sales clients; moving forward it will only sell its fleece vests and other outerwear to companies that have fully embraced charitable and environmentalist causes.
Smartly, the company is aiming to align itself with smaller, more sustainably minded businesses, those more focused on the outdoors than market updates. This was inevitable, says the anonymous founder of Midtown Uniform: “It was only a matter of time before Patagonia laid the hammer down on working with financial firms. They don’t want to be associated with firms that aren’t aligned with their mission, I get it.”
How did the Patagonia vest enter the minds and hearts of CEOs and their minions anyway? As Midtown Uniform explains, “Patagonia offers a premium option in the vest world, so finance broskis love it. Plus, there’s a progressive and hip element [different] from how their dads used to dress on Wall Street.”
While it’s debatable whether or not the “progressive” element really does attract the analysts and MDs, there’s little doubt that they’ll continue to flock to the Patagonia fleece vests, even without the J.P. Morgan or Monroe Capital cobranding. In the words of Midtown Uniform, “the news isn’t going to stop them from buying Patagonia directly. I think it will have the reverse effect, as the brand will seem more unattainable and thus, more desirable.”