The recent election has revealed a deeply divided nation. And a deeply divided fashion industry. The entire Trump portfolio of businesses—including Ivanka’s fashion and lifestyle empire—has incited cries for boycotts in protest of President-elect Trump’s controversial policies. Even future First Lady Melania Trump has been the subject of a boycott, with many of the industry’s top designers proactively saying they’ll refuse to dress her when she becomes FLOTUS.
It all started with an open letter from designer Sophie Theallet, who’s been a go-to for Michelle Obama during her extremely fashionable tenure in the White House. In her letter, Theallet cited Donald Trump’s controversial views on immigration policy and discriminatory statements toward a range of minority groups as reasons why she would have nothing to do with his administration. In the wake of Theallet’s letter, industry titans like Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim, Derek Lam, and Tom Ford have all said they would either flat-out refuse to dress the future FLOTUS or have no interest in the job. But there’s also a bevy of designers who are more than happy to dress the next First Lady—chief among them, her longtime favorite, Badgley Mischka.
Donald Trump and then-Melania Knauss at the Badgley Mischka spring 2004 show during New York Fashion Week.
More on fashion’s complicated relationship with politics:
- Michelle Obama’s Go-to Designer Is Refusing to Dress Melania Trump
- Tommy Hilfiger Says “Any Designer Should Be Proud” to Dress Melania Trump
- Tom Ford on Why He Wouldn’t Dress Melania Trump—and Hillary Clinton
The sleek label has a long-established presence among the political elite in D.C., which they say is totally bipartisan. “We used to do dresses for Hillary [Clinton] when she was First Lady, and we did the inaugural gowns for the Bush twins,” Mark Badgley of the design duo said in an interview with WWD. In addition to their history in Washington, the designers also have a long history of dressing Melania—a relationship they say won’t change despite questions that have arisen due to Trump’s policies. “We support the office of the First Lady, so the answer would be yes. She’s a lovely person,” said James Mischka. “She’s very attractive and has a great figure. Hopefully she’ll support American designers,” Badgley added.
There is already a crop of American designers supporting her. In addition to Badgley and Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg, Thom Browne, and Tommy Hilfiger have all stated they’d be happy to work with Trump. In an era of total controversy and change, it’s safe to say FLOTUS’s role as a symbol of style will remain the same.
Speaking of FLOTUS fashion, here’s Michelle Obama’s style evolution:
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