Cause-oriented merch is booming

The New York Times has declared that “politics is back in fashion,” and this is certainly apparent in the continued and intense proliferation of cause-oriented merch. The popularity of such statement pieces (which can financially support the causes they espouse) coincides with this year's massive work-from-home shift, as consumers are more inclined to choose comfortable clothing over business wear anyway. Check out a few trending categories of cause-related merch below, but note that there are far more in the marketplace—we had a hard time narrowing this Daily down!


The Parks Project falls under a category of merch that Elle is calling public sector merch, or apparel that benefits institutions that maybe haven’t previously been associated with something so fashion-forward. Other public sector organizations like the USPS and NHS have recently launched apparel drops that were included under the umbrella of public sector merch, but we’re highlighting the Parks Project because the standout for-profit business was created solely to give back to our national parks. This August, they hit a milestone of giving $1 million back to national parks. Not only does each collection of Parks Project apparel help fund any number of projects in our national parks—including vital wildlife conservation efforts, trail restorations, visitor education and more—but the merch is dope: it’s vintage-inspired (there’s tons of 70’s and 80’s inspired graphics and details), taps into 2020’s tie-dye craze, and is perfect for wearing around the house between those socially-distant outdoor adventures.


The imperative to vote has seemingly never felt so heightened, but 2020 has prompted a certain reexamination around civic engagement. Beloved Gen Z retailer American Eagle partnered with HeadCount to launch a small capsule collection of tees espousing the importance of voting, with all profits going to the nonpartisan organization. Former First Lady Michelle Obama has also debuted a line of merch urging people to register to vote through her organization When We All Vote. The merch is gender-neutral, features items from Black-owned and female-owned companies, and is intended to be worn even after this election cycle comes to a close.


Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is also getting in on the merch game with his campaign’s Believe In Better collection, giving fans the chance to support his candidacy while rocking pieces from a roster of beloved American designers. Featuring tees designed by the likes of Aurora James and Joe Perez, the collection includes some seriously cool items, all of which are made in America and cost no more than $60.