Designing for the First Lady of any country is a matter of honour for any designer. It’s also a sure-shot way of getting noticed on an international platform and getting increased brand visibility. And while not many who essay the role have a lot of experience in the fashion department (even the exquisitely styled Michelle Obama once had to undergo a learning curve), the US is set to welcome a much celebrated model as its next First Lady.
Now, one would imagine that designers would jump at such an opportunity, especially since Melania Trump is already been touted as the most glamorous US First Lady since Jackie Kennedy. But all is not quite hunky dory in the world of fashion and design in this respect. French designer Sophie Theallet recently shared an open letter on Twitter categorically stating that she and her fashion brand “will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady”.
The reason for taking such a strong step is because “the rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by”, writes Theallet, who has profusely complimented current FLOTUS Michelle Obama in the same letter, and said it was an honour to dress her.
Ironically, Melania Trump herself is a US immigrant, who came from Slovenia with her family as a child, and even the designer is an immigrant, who has taken this stand against Trump’s highly controversial campaign, which has largely targeted US immigrants.
Open letter | Sophie Theallet | November 17th, 2016 pic.twitter.com/g1hIAyBmdF
— sophie theallet (@sophietheallet) 17 November 2016
The designer ends her letter encouraging fellow designers to follow her lead in the name of artistic freedom and “contributing to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world”.
So far there have been no other official statements from other designers, many of who had formally endorsed the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton during the elections. The tweet has been met with mixed reactions on Twitter, with some lauding the designer’s stand while others saying that she’s putting the horse before the cart. Vogue magazine, which extensively covers the US First Lady each time is believed to continue with the tradition this time as well.