For a fashion designer, getting a politician or their family to wear your clothes is usually seen as a huge coup and a big deal.
Much like ‘the Kate effect’ (that’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), whenever former First Lady Michelle Obama wore a particular item of clothing, it provided a huge boost to the designer or brand responsible – there was even a scientific study into how her wardrobe choices affected the fashion market.
But many designers, including Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Derek Lam, Joseph Altuzarra, Phillip Lim and Sophie Theallet, have refused to dress the new inhabitants of the White House in protest at Trump’s policies.
And one has now spoken out, explaining why he won’t dress any members of the First Family, despite the fact that it would provide a global platform for his designs.
Zac Posen, one of America’s best-known fashion designers, has in fact dressed both Melania and Ivanka Trump in the past, but he won’t be doing it again.
The designer told the Daily Beast that he has “no current plans to dress members of the first family.”
The reason is that he – and many other designers – don’t want to be affiliated with politics, especially in such divided times.
“Right now, I’m staying away from bringing my brand into politics,” Posen explained.
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But he also revealed that he takes umbrage with many of the issues being challenged by Trump’s administration.
“There are issues that are being questioned that are fundamentally upsetting to me – deeply: LGBT rights, immigration, funding for the arts, Planned Parenthood, and women’s rights.
“These are just issues that are very close to my heart, and I use my own private voice and funds to fight for them and in support of them. I think it’s important to use your voice. I think that every brand and person has a right to be vocal.
“I’m very upset with the state of affairs right now. I always try to be optimistic. I think that freedom will prevail.”
However, Posen, who has dressed Michelle Obama in the past, added that he doesn’t “dictate who buys [his] clothing in a store.”
The designer revealed that he thinks the fashion industry should be “cautious” in how it advocates for issues.
“You can’t market or commercialise feminism as an entity. One has to be careful. I aim to be about powerful women in my clothing. It’s important that I support the amazing women that I’m able to work with.
“It’s a message about creativity and process. And being able to self-create is the message I want to share to the generation of young people being born now.”