Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, better known by the moniker AOC, has become an accidental style icon—deftly using fashion to make quietly powerful political statements. There was the white power suit she wore to her swearing-in ceremony; the internet-breaking oxblood Telfar handbag she took to Congress in August, or the Tweet defending her gold hoops and signature red lip (“Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman.”) Now, she’s heroing an emerging Bronx-based designer with her choice of face masks.
The tie-dye cotton masks AOC has been spotted wearing on the 2020 campaign trail are by Leah Kirsch, an affordable, sustainable clothing label from Ocasio-Cortez’s hometown. The specific masks AOC has been wearing retail for a cool USD $22, and are made using off-cuts from Kirsch’s organic, hand-dyed cotton T-shirts. Plus, for every mask sold Kirsch donates a mask to a COVID-19 essential worker.
Ocasio-Cortez easily won re-election to New York’s 14th district on Tuesday—as did Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, the other three members of the notorious ‘Squad’. AOC first rose to prominence in 2018 when her grassroots campaign to replace incumbent Democratic representative Joe Crowley became the biggest upset of the midterm election. Crowley, who had been the Democratic Caucus Chair, lost 56/43 to the then-28-year-old, who was a bartender at the time.
Two years on and Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the most famous politicians in America, applauded by many for her support of Medicare For All, her staunch advocacy for climate action and her willingness to critique the more centrist divisions of her own political party. Many believe her to be a possible contender for the presidency in coming years, though she won’t legally be allowed to run until 2028, because by US law a candidate must be at least 35 years old. Until then, we’ll have many a fashion-lover’s dog whistle to look forward to.