With just over a month left until the election, it’s not exactly a surprise that things are getting weird—especially on the merch front. The official Joe Biden store has already sold out of the “Will You Shut Up, Man?” T-shirts that appeared online less than an hour after the exasperated former veep said those words on the debate stage, but the “No Meowlarky” cat collars and the “I Paid More in Taxes Than Donald Trump” shirts are still in stock.
Not to be outdone, President Donald Trump is selling a 10-pack of “I Heart Trump” plastic straws, MAGA Dad whisky glasses, and an official Trump coloring book, which the President’s director of communications seems to enjoy reading out loud. And yeah, that shady unofficial “White House Gift Shop” is still offering its $125 coronavirus commemorative coin.
But the strangest drop of the year has to be Biden Beauty, a brand that materialized online on Wednesday. Its website features a close-up of the former vice president’s face; a font seemingly borrowed from a mid-tier mall brand’ and a small product line that’s supposed to “merge beauty and politics,” encourage Gen-Z to improve on its 30 percent voter turnout in the 2018 primaries, and acknowledge Joe Biden’s “natural beauty.” (You know, compared to the orange concealer that has allegedly stained some Mar-A-Lago laundry.)
“It’s no secret the beauty community is the most powerful and engaged of them all. From TikTok, Instagram, to flash beauty sales on Facebook Live, we see just how people from all walks of life partake in beauty,” a Biden Beauty representative told VICE in an email. “It’s also one where influencers look like America. They’re from different backgrounds, gender identities, orientations, and more but what really unites us all is that we all feel better about ourselves through beauty. We hope that through beauty […] we’ll be able to turn this country blue and get it back on track.”
As of this writing, the products include a blue makeup sponge, a Biden-logo hoodie, an “America is Beautiful” tote bag, and an assortment of pin badges and stickers. Additional merch will be added between now and Election Day, and it will probably vibe with the site’s all-blue theme.
As strange and ‘how do you do, fellow kids’ as this all seems, it also seems to be legit. The organizers declined to answer any questions about who they are, and all anyone seems to know is that they are “anonymous beauty insiders.” When VICE reached out to Biden Beauty, we received a press kit from Foundation, a PR agency that has named beauty vlogger Christen Dominique and makeup artist Michelle Phan among its clients, along with brands like Hourglass Cosmetics and Urban Decay.
The brand is not affiliated with the Biden campaign at all, but it has pledged to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from all of its sales to the Biden Victory Fund. “We sent them a deck and didn’t hear that it was offensive in any way,” the organizers said. “We took that as a signifier that yes, this was good to go.”
In addition to some light Biden thirst, the goal of the entire campaign is less about moving makeup sponges, and more about getting people to cast their ballots this year. The ‘VOTE’ section of Biden Beauty provides a number of resources for first-time voters, and for people who still haven’t slipped their ‘Nasty Woman’ T-shirts into a donation bin. Its as-yet-unidentified organizers also confirmed that “of course” they voted in the 2016 presidential election.
We’re all so tired, Biden Beauty. Do you have any merch or makeup sponges or helpful links for dealing with that?