In an “open letter” to Melania Trump posted on Twitter, fashion designer Sophie Theallet says that she won’t dress the wife of the President-elect because she supports immigrants and “stands against discrimination and prejudice.”
Open letter | Sophie Theallet | November 17th, 2016 pic.twitter.com/g1hIAyBmdF
— sophie theallet (@sophietheallet) November 17, 2016
Theallet said that the “rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.” She went on to encourage other fashion designers to also refuse to lend their clothes to the future First Lady.
She added, “[w]e value our artistic freedom and always humbly seek to contribute to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world.” She ended by saying, “Integrity is our only true currency” (though her $4,000 dresses are, unfortunately for most Americans, not priced in increments of “integrity”).
Theallet is an up-and-comer in the fashion world, winning the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2009 after being on the fashion scene only two years. As part of her work — and, possibly, as part of her marketing — she dressed First Lady Michelle Obama, notably (and, perhaps, controversially) for Mrs. Obama’s vacations in Martha’s Vineyard and Hawaii.
Those clothes were likely provided to Mrs. Obama for free, and Ms. Theallet and her brand are under no obligation to repeat their gesture with Mrs. Obama’s successor.
That said, the swipe at Melania Trump is pre-emptive, and it’s clear Ms. Theallet has every desire to draw conclusions about Mrs. Trump before actually meeting her. She also seems to forget that Mrs. Trump is both an immigrant, and not responsible for her husband’s Presidential policies.
And more importantly that, unlike previous First Ladies, Mrs. Trump doesn’t seem to need to rely on designers to provide her her outfits for free. Melania frequently sported designer labels during her husband’s campaign. She purchased the $2,190 Roksanda dress she sported at the RNC on Net-a-Porter (it sold out on the site within minutes).
And, of course, there’s always Ivanka.
Theallet is, of course, not alone in not wanting to dress the Trumps. But at least one designer, Marcus Wainwright of the label Rag + Bone, said he’d definitely consider the opportunity. “It would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump,” Wainwright told NYT. “If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs.”