The president of the Amazon Alliance knows how powerful an outfit can be

Today, the Senate Budget Committee hold a hearing to review Amazon’s labor practices. During the proceedings, Senator Lindsey Graham argued with Amazon Labor Federation President Chris Smalls, who accused Graham of prioritizing businesses over people. But nothing is more famous than Smalls’ clothes: a New York Yankees baseball cap and a black jacket with red and yellow spots with the words “Eat the Rich” printed on both the front and back.

In many ways, Smalls’s clothes say what he can’t. (It’s hard to lean into a microphone in the Chamber of Commerce and declare, “cannibals the rich.”) Instead, Smalls’ jacket serves as a forever reminder of his politics and intentions. Unlike most people who appear at these hearings, dressed to minimize any chance of them standing out, Smalls has taken the opposite approach.

But wearing bright red isn’t the only way to send political messages. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos appeared in a beautiful suit when he was called to a 2020 hearing on Amazon’s labor practices. Smalls, meanwhile, used a hat and satin jacket for contrast. He doesn’t look like a politician or an executive. He looks like a real person, a New Yorker. Or, as he put it during the hearing, like one of the workers that drives companies like Amazon away.

Smalls at the Staten Island rally

Andrew Lichtenstein

This isn’t the first time Smalls has worn an “Eat the Rich” jacket. Piece of jacketmade by Roku Studio, has become something of a visual treat for Smalls. (The brand didn’t immediately respond to messages.) He wore it to a protest outside Amazon’s sorting center on Staten Island before employees at that location voted on unionization. (vote do not pass) at the end of April. He also wears a jacket in his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last month.

Smalls seems to understand that his appearance on Fox News, at a rally, or before the Senate Budget Committee gives him the opportunity to deliver a message. And he knows exactly what message he wants to send.

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