The world went wild after Bernie Sanders attended President Biden’s inauguration in what many are calling a stunning “grumpy chic” look. But what some don’t realize is that his outfit was also very much a local celebration of his home state. His jacket is Burton, which is based in Burlington, and his mittens are handmade by a LGBTQ woman named Jen Ellis.
Ellis lives in Essex Junction, Vermont, and made the mittens as a gift for Sanders back in 2016. On Twitter, Ellis revealed that the mittens are made from repurposed wool sweaters and fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. So not only are these stylish, warm, and now very, very famous…but they’re also eco-friendly too!
I made Bernie’s mittens as a gift a couple years ago. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece (made from recycled plastic bottles). #BerniesMittens pic.twitter.com/lTXFJvVy9V
— Jen Ellis (@vtawesomeness) January 21, 2020
Ellis lives with her partner and her daughter and has been shocked by the worldwide demand for her mittens. She told Slate magazine that she was teaching during the inauguration and had no idea she had become an internet sensation in just a few short hours.
Luckily, Ellis is making good use of her newfound fame. She’s auctioning off two pairs of her mittens for charity. The first is for Passion 4 Paws, a volunteer-run organization that helps rescue animals, as well as advocates for and teaches responsible and humane pet ownership. The second pair is being auctioned off for Outright Vermont, an LGBTQ nonprofit that’s helping queer youth by putting on events, developing education programs, and providing mentorships.
To learn more about Jen Ellis, follow her on Twitter