Addressing the issue of dressing. When designer Sophie Theallet proclaimed that she wouldn’t outfit Melanie Trump in her designs when she becomes first lady in January, many of fashion’s biggest luminaries were prompted to think about whether they’d join her stance.
“I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady,” Theallet, whose styles have been worn by Kim Kardashian, Jessica Alba and our current first lady, Michelle Obama, said in a November 17 open letter posted on Twitter. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”
But not everyone in the industry agreed with Theallet’s stance — particularly Tommy Hilfiger. “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman, and I think any designer should be proud to dress her,” the New York City–based pro, 65, told WWD November 21. “Ivanka [Trump] is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it.”
With those split opinions, WWD polled some of Theallet and Hilfiger’s peers to see where they stand. Keep scrolling to read their honest opinions.
Diane von Furstenberg
“Donald Trump was elected and he will be our president. Melania deserves the respect of any first lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity. We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example.”
“I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump. I didn’t see [Sophie Theallet’s] letter. Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by [Donald] Trump and his supporters.”
“We have not been contacted by the Trump campaign or administration thus far. But the first lady–elect should support American fashion, as did her predecessors.”
“It’s been such an emotional roller coaster of an election process. The result has only confirmed my belief that we must stand for what we represent as a brand, so my sentiment is still the same. As a global brand, we are always looking to partner with individuals that we have authentic relationships with — ultimately, women and men that share a similar set of values, desires and ideologies: inclusion, diversity, justice, consciousness, innovation. … With that said, we do not have a current relationship with Mrs. Trump, and I don’t foresee a relationship developing under the Trump administration.”
“What a tough question to answer now that the election has been decided! I’ve been slammed on social media when expressing an opinion about the election outcome. I was warned by people that I should not make an opinion which could alienate a client. Having been duly warned, my response is, while I have incredible respect for our country’s political institutions, I find it challenging to be personally involved in dressing the new first lady. I would rather concentrate my energies on efforts towards a more just, honorable and a mutually respectful world. I don’t know Melania Trump personally, so I don’t wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don’t see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency.”
“In the midst of this heated debate, the question actually seems somewhat irrelevant. She can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it? Just because she’s shown wearing a designer does not mean that designer is endorsing her, her husband or any of their beliefs. Checking someone’s ethical beliefs before they’re allowed to purchase, sets up an exclusionary dynamic that feeds into the exact mentality that is preventing us from moving forward in a positive direction. Some people say fashion and politics should never mix, but when given the choice, I think you should address and dress your conscience.”
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