If you’ve followed DeRay McKesson and the Black Lives Matter movement you’d recognize his signature Patagonia blue vest. It’s practically everywhere he goes, and it’s intentional; it’s a part of his activism.
McKesson has released his first book, The Other Side Of Freedom, where he details his experiences as an activist within the last five years. During his promotional tour for, McKesson revealed the true meaning behind his vest, and why he always has it on.
The 33-year-old told Buzzfeed’s AM to DM that his signature blue vest isn’t a lazy fashion choice, but a sort of armour for the activist. “I still wear it because it reminds me that all of the things that we went through were real,” he said.
“I’ve had this vest on when I was tear-gassed, when I was dragged out of the police department by my ankles, when I was shot at with bullets … This is my grounding piece,” he continued. “I have been in so many places that I could forget about what happened, and I never want to forget how fragile freedom is and was in those moments.”
The Baltimore native revealed to Vanity Fair, that the only time he doesn’t wear it is to doctor’s appointments. “The only place I don’t wear it consistently is the doctor’s office,” he said. “I had strep throat and the last thing I want to do when I’m getting tested for strep is have a conversation.”