Recently our community was shocked to learn that a beloved staple of financial culture, the embroidered Patagonia Vest, would no longer be offered to a range of financial institutions. Let’s be clear. It is a highly political move. Here is my very high level overview of what transpired and how I feel.I am going to set the record straight for the last time on the inception, build up, and demise of the now infamous Patagonia Vest. Let’s start with a little history. There seems to be two narratives surrounding the birth of this trend. The Vest. The Power Vest, the Stockbroker Life Jacket, the Patagucci, The Greenwich Life Preserver, or The Patty.
The stronger narrative circulates around SAC Capital. SAC Capital, a prominent hedge fund at the time, was Grade A Beef before insider trading complications. Steve Cohen, the fund’s founder and a Wall Street Legend, allegedly use to keep the temperature on the trading floor extremely frigid. This kept the trader’s alert and more efficient. Vests in general, not just Patagonia, became a solid option to keep the wearer’s core at a comfortable temperature throughout the day. What followed was mass adoption by not only the hedge fund industry, but by investment bankers, particularly Sales & Trading groups who generally opt out of the classic suit and who’s ranks historically have comprised of mostly young energetic males from Target Schools (oftentimes athletes). For those of you who still don’t know what that is, it refers to school’s that have a history of funneling kid’s to Wall Street with strong alumni networks. Think Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Duke, Vanderbilt, Stanford, USC, NYU, blah blah blah blah blah.
This analysis would be incomplete without some mention of the influence that fraternity/bro culture has had on the proliferation of vest wearers. Whether it be Vineyard Vines , Patagonia , Orvis , Arc’teryx, Mountain Hardware, Eddie Bauer, Peter Millar, or any other number of assorted brands, vests have long been a staple of fraternity culture. You know, the frat kings rocking khaki shorts, crisp New Balances, Peter Millar Polos and Dad Hats? You will see plenty at The University of North Carolina and even more at Clemson. Yet while southern regional weather may deter potential wearers with high temperatures, the northeast seems to have had the style embedded since the Pilgrims first landed and started flexin.
The Greater New England area is a WASPY/Prep nest of vest marrow. Take a trip through Midtown New York, Greenwich, Connecticut, or any other number of cities in the original thirteen colonies and you won’t go long without seeing the Stockbroker Life Vest usually accompanied by a slick comb over. Since the inception of Finmeme Accounts in 2017, popularity for Patagonia in particular has exploded. To be fair Patagonia meme activity reached its height only several months ago. Future sentiment is that these meme vehicles will prove redundant, outlook was bearish. It makes sense a broader market trend would follow in the same direction.
The Second narrative of the origination of vest culture focuses around the Silicon Valley/San Francisco area and it’s start up/tech culture. If you have ever worked or lived in the area then you are aware the dress code is a 180 Degree opposite of New York, London, or any other major financial hub. There is also a shit ton of hobo shit everywhere but I digress. San Francisco itself is a hive of Patagonia wearing tech bros and gals who drink coffee and do outdoor things in cool 65 Degree weather. In between all of the Succulents and Persian rugs that decorate every early Spanish style apartment in the Marina, you will find Patagonia wearing young adults who love craft beers, the outdoors, and being active. I am a huge fan of the weather in San Francisco and I will say it is extremely accommodating to Patagonia’s products. The Silicon Valley itself has swarms of young tech workers who have leaned on the vest as a staple of regional fashion for the past several years. One of the more public showings of this style occurs yearly at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference where you can find big dicks from any realm of business, political, and social life rocking the annual embroidered uniform in crisp Idaho weather.
So this brings us to more recent events. With the rise of powerful Finmeme bulge bracket firms like Litquidity (Litquidity Capital), Arbitrage Andy (Andy & Co.), and Not Your Father’s Broker, Patagonia and other brands have seen tremendous exposure on social media. The focus led to Patagonia being seen in a more synonymous nature within the financial industry and undoubtedly caused quite a commotion at Patagonia Marketing, which is ironic, considering revenue has surely increased as a direct result of free marketing on Instagram. Regardless of your political affiliation, I think one can appreciate the absolute horror that unfolded at Patagonia upon realizing Big Bad Wall Street was claiming their iconic product as their own. It’s no secret Patagonia’s CEO Rose Marcario is objectively left leaning, boasting public criticism of President Donald Trump, endorsement of Democratic candidates, and a lawsuit last year with the Trump Administration over National Parks amongst other items. In this day and age of hypersensitivity and political correctness, I won’t waste my time delving into this further.
What is for certain is that the recent action by Patagonia has discriminated against Tech and Finance Bros & Gals everywhere under the guise of environmental responsibility and that’s exactly what is is: discrimination. Don’t get me wrong Patagonia has done remarkable things for the environment and for the preservation of our National Parks and biomes but unfortunately I just don’t buy that as the primary reason for this ban. Some of you are going to probably say “BUt AnDY YoU cAN JUst OrDER oNE anD EMbrOIDER it YERSELF” to which my response is: look at the intention behind the action.
In a statement last Tuesday Patagonia announced a shifted focus for “mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet”, which in other words means screw the blood thirsty capitalist bastards or white hetero normative cis finance and tech bros. To be honest I was getting a bit tired of wearing a product whose CEO opposes my size moving vibes and the objectivity of free markets.
Kim Bhasin from Bloomberg had the following to say in her recent piece on the vest ban:
According to the email from the unidentified supplier cited by Kim, Patagonia was reluctant to sell co-branded gear with companies they consider “ecologically damaging,” such as the oil and mining industries. It also singled out religious groups, political-affiliated organizations and financial institutions.
What I always found so ironic about these leftist leaning groups is that they preach inclusivity and fairness EXCEPT if you belong to the religious, political, or financial institutions referenced above ( I will let you take a wild guess as to where said groups sit on the political spectrum). This action isn’t surprising given there have already been many instances like it throughout the United States in the last several years. Corporations have been acting as political entities seeming to think they can alter and censor information and services towards certain groups, and I guess that’s the truth. Again, I won’t waste my breath opening this can of worms but stay woke young kings. While Patagonia isn’t a Google, Amazon, or Facebook, you are an ignorant cuck if you do not possess the ability to recognize the threat faced to free speech and objective information delivery by these companies. I have already spent too much time writing this article and realize that the formatting is probably abysmal but I would like to end with this.
You dated us Patagonia, we didn’t date you. You’re not special and we have other vest lovers. As I type this the war-rooms of your rivals buzz with anticipation and excitement as to which vest brand will get to date us next. This Fall when I am sitting on an Adirondack Chair on my well manicured lawn while my golden retriever prances around, trading size on my tablet, wearing a vest brand I designed and mass marketed, I will laugh. I will laugh because the demographic that you so hate rocked your product better than you ever could. After-all a fresh Patagucci looks better with Deal Sleds than it does with Hiking Boots. But more importantly you provided an opportunity for a Size Lord whose love for free markets saw no bounds and turned away no bro.
Arbitrage AndyCEO, Andy & Co.
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