Maloney’s 'Fashion with a purpose'

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney with firefighters. Photo courtesy of Office of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney
The New York congresswoman has been wearing a custom FDNY jacket in support of the bill to aid 9/11 first responders
By Ema Schumer

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has added a new statement piece to her wardrobe, courtesy of the New York City Fire Department.

The Democrat from the 12th Congressional District has been spotted in photographs wearing an oversized, custom FDNY jacket. On the first Monday in May, she wore it over her bright yellow ball gown at the Met Gala. The next month, she wore it to the ribbon cutting of the renovation of an Upper East Side neighborhood center. And in the nation’s capital, the congresswoman wore the jacket in the audience of comedian and New Yorker Jon Stewart’s impassioned testimony before the House Judiciary Committee advocating for the first responders of 9/11.

Our Town communicated with the congresswoman in an email interview to learn the story behind this jacket, which has piqued the curiosity of many New Yorkers.

This past February, the FDNY gifted the “heroes’ coat” to Maloney as she introduced the Never Forget the Heroes Act — a bill that, if passed, would grant new appropriations to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which provides financial assistance to individuals who suffer from health problems stemming from the 9/11 attacks.

On that day, Maloney vowed to not take the coat off until the bill was passed.

Although the black jacket appears several sizes too large for the congresswoman, it is customized just for her. “CAROLYN” is written above the right front pocket and “CONGRESSWOMAN MALONEY” is emblazoned in neon yellow along the back.

“Fashion with a purpose,” Maloney coined the look. “It helps to raise awareness about the bill and the need to pass it,” the congresswoman added.

When the cameras aren’t looking, Maloney said she still wears the jacket, walking around the streets of New York City or grabbing a cup of coffee.

“It is a great way to start conversations about the bill and has led to other Members signing as a cosponsors,” she wrote.

On June 11, Maloney sat in the audience wearing her FDNY jacket as Stewart testified before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington in support of the bill. The following day, the committee voted unanimously to pass the Never Forget the Heroes Act. On its path to become law, the bill heads to the House next for a vote.

“I feel so proud to stand with these men and women in the fight for their healthcare and compensation and you can bet I’ll keep wearing the coat even after we pass the bill,” Maloney wrote.