Starting in the fall of 2015, L.L. Bean “duck boots” became the must-have footwear for forward-thinking hipsters tired of slipping their toes in and out of the now-too-ubiquitous Uggs. But in the wake of some news about the Bean family’s political giving, left-leaning fashionistas across America may be regretting their trendy purchases.
A preppy staple of East Coast undergrads at Ivy League schools, the L.L. Bean “duck” is an insulated, waterproof ankle boot that pairs perfectly with skinny jeans, tight flannels and eco-friendly bags of artisanal cheese purchased from a local organic grocer.
By last October, the shoe became so popular, the Atlantic even dispatched a journalist to find out why they were never available online.
But Thursday, news broke that L.L. Bean heiress Linda Bean, who sits on the company’s board, had given around $60,000 to the Making America Great Again PAC. She was in trouble with the FEC for exceeding personal giving limits and, it seems, mis-classifying her donations.
Bean’s money provided almost all of the PAC’s working capital, and she gave to Donald Trump steadily over the course of the campaign.
L.L. Bean was quick to point out on its Facebook page that Linda Bean is only one of a dozen or so members of its Board of Directors, and that it values its employees involvement in a range of causes, but has no political agenda of its own.
But that was too late for the hordes of hipsters who took to social media to bemoan their Bean boots, and their unwitting, year-long, arm’s length support of Trump’s Presidential campaign.
One Twitter user welcomed her upcoming birthday, saying it made her happy she was now too old to be wearing the duck boots she’d “always wanted.” One penned a sad goodbye to her beloved pair. A few threatened violence against the innocent, unarmed footwear. Others tried to reason around the situation. Some simply feigned ignorance.
This is, sadly, not the first time that hipsters blindly following the trends have stumbled into accidentally funding an opposing political campaign.
In fact, L.L. Bean’s involvement in the political process is very far removed compared to, say, Urban Outfitters and its sister brands Anthropologie and Free People, whose founder and chairman, Richard Hayne, is a major giver to Republican politicians. Hayne gave more than $10,000 to Rick Santorum’s political action committee over the years, and donated heavily to Meg Whitman’s campaign to be California’s governor.
Just a few weeks ago, Teen Vogue breathlessly reported that the founder of Coachella—the yearly music festival that draws all manner of hipster and Kardashian into the California desert to hear acts Radiohead and Beyonce—supports conservative non-profits.
Even so, Urban Outfitters revenue is steadily rising, and Coachella tickets will, no doubt, sell out. Sacrifices will just have to be made.