Bernie-inspired mittens spark Darn Tough spinoff

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 6:18 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Those Bernie mittens just won’t quit! More than a week after Senator Sanders went viral for his attire at President Biden’s inauguration, the fashion plate is inspiring a line of socks.

The iconic photo of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is still all over the internet. The countless memes inspired Sanders to support a merch deal that’s raised almost $2 million for Meals on Wheels and other Vermont charities. And now the made in Vermont mittens are inspiring some Vermont made socks.

“It’s going to look like the mittens, as close as we can get,” said Brooke Kaplan with Darn Tough Vermont. The Northfield-based manufacturer says they have been working with Jen Ellis, the Essex Junction teacher, who made Sanders’ mittens

The Bernie inspired socks called “JENerosity” socks go on presale Friday and cost $23 a pair.

“She reached out to us to see if we can work together and partner and do more good with it, the platform that she has right now,” Kaplan said. That platform is for all proceeds to go directly toward the Vermont Foodbank.

“It was kind of a surprise and I’m just so thrilled,” said the Foodbank’s John Sayles. He says the donations come at a time when they are helping Vermonters fighting food insecurity during the pandemic. These funds that will come in from the Bernie socks from Jen and Darn Tough are going to make a big difference.”

And it’s not just Senator Sanders apparel that’s turning heads. A Bernie bobblehead is on the way. “The bobblehead will be sort of an exact replica of that pose with the chair and the facemask and mittens of course,” said Phil Sklar with the National Bobblehead Museum.

The Bernie Bobblehead is pre-selling for $25 plus shipping, which is about the going rate for viral bobbleheads, and Sklar says it’s the second top seller of all time. “We have topped 20,000, the 20,000 sold mark yesterday and they continue to come in by the minute,” he said. And inspired by the senator, the Wisconsin museum is also chipping in to help the hungry. “We had made yesterday a $10,000 contribution to Meals on Wheels Vermont and hopefully that will be one of multiple contributions that we will be making.

As for Darn Tough, they say the socks are not a political statement, just a way to help Vermonters. “It’s really about Vermonters. We certainly admire Bernie’s spirit, but this is really about, it’s a Vermont thing and helping out other fellow Vermonters,” Kaplan said.

A viral meme that keeps giving back to Vermonters.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders’ mittens steal the show at inauguration

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