How to get your hands on your own Bernie mittens

The designer behind the iconic inauguration look will be auctioning off her gloves and donating money from sales to LGBTQ+ youth and dog shelters.

by Tom George
27 January 2021, 12:08pm

Fashion and politics have always gone hand in hand. We have Jackie Kennedy’s array of Chanel suits, Michelle Obama’s unprecedented effect on fashion’s global stock markets, and of course AOC’s gold hoop earrings and Telfar bag. But more recently, our socialist king has had his unexpected fashion moment: Bernie Sanders and his cosy inauguration mittens. Now, you have a chance to secure your own pair -- but doing so might be harder than securing one of those aforementioned It bags. 

The designer behind the now iconic knitwear is primary school teacher Jen Ellis, who made the mittens as a gift for Bernie a few years back using repurposed woollen sweaters, lining them with fleece made out of recycled plastic bottles. Sharing her surprise at the world’s embracing of Bernie’s iconic look, Jen was elated to see her senator wearing the designs at the historic event. In a tweet, she said: ‘‘It truly has been an amazing and historic day! I'm so flattered that Bernie wore them to the inauguration” she posted. Despite selling out of all her stock, Jen has bowed to pressure and has now made three more of her signature pairs of mittens. Each comes in a unique, bold design, and will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to some great causes. 

A blue Fair Isle pair will raise funds for Outright Vermont, a charity that supports queer youth spaces in schools and organisations that help fight harassment and bullying, as well as hosting large scale LGBTQ+ events and summer camps. A second striped blue pair will be donated to the dog rescue shelter and foster organisation Passion4Paws. Then, a unique multi-coloured pair will be used to help raise funds for Jen’s daughter’s college fund. Alongside the mittens auction, Outright Vermont are also hosting a raffle for two adorable hand-crafted Bernie dolls in his infamous inauguration look of mittens, a ski coat and face mask.

“This is a thrilling opportunity to spread much needed warmth for LGBTQ+ youth in Vermont and beyond,” Dana Kaplan, Executive Director of Outright Vermont told them. magazine, pointing out the way in which the virality of the Bernie mittens have been used to bring light to amazing causes.  “The meme of 2021 bringing awareness to young folks, many of whom are in the depths of isolation and disconnection, [allowing them to be] celebrated and recognized…. talk about, hope, equity, and power!"

The mittens auction and Bernie doll raffle end on 29 January, with the former already raising thousands of dollars in bids. You can also get involved by donating directly to Outright Vermont as it expands its summer camp program, which promises no camper will be turned away if they cannot afford it. Bernie Sanders: changing the world, and staying chic. 

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Bernie Sanders
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