A fashion maven who has designed for first lady Michelle Obama issued a controversial open letter last week saying that she would never dress incoming first lady Melania Trump, and has advised “my fellow designers to do the same.”
However, Melania may get the last laugh: She hardly needs another famous designer to fill her closet with outfits.
Sophie Theallet, the designer in question, dated the letter last Thursday.
“As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next first lady,” Theallet wrote, according to The Hill.
“The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by,” she continued. “I encourage my fellow designers to do the same.”
“I am well aware it is not wise to get involved in politics,” she noted. “That said, as a family-owned company, our bottom line is not just about money. We value our artistic freedom and always humbly seek to contribute to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world.”
Many in the fashion industry disagreed with Theallet’s decision.
“It would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump,” Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone told The New York Times. “If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs.”
Celebrity designer Bradley Scott agreed. “First lady is first lady. It’s a position that should be exalted not disrespected,” he told Fox News. “I can’t believe anyone would basically spit at the opportunity. It’s so un-American.”
Of course, the ultimate irony is that Melania Trump hardly needs Theallet. The U.K. Daily Mail reported that Melania has worn designs from Ralph Lauren, Fendi, Gucci, Michael Kors and Dolce & Gabbana during her time on the campaign trail. Those are all famous-enough names, and all seem more than willing to do business with the incoming first lady.
Theallet isn’t the only person who has decided that anything that goes against her personal belief system is racist, sexist, xenophobic or whatever form of bigotry she wishes to name it. She is one of the most visible. However, Theallet’s stand is not only self-important, self-deluding and divisive, it’s also going to hurt nobody but herself. Nice work.
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