In the wake of the most insane election in U.S. history, much of the fashion community has wondered what Melania Trump’s relationship with the American fashion community will be. Michelle Obama has been a strong proponent of American designers over the past eight years. Meanwhile, Trump has seemingly not given much thought to the topic (she wore Gucci to the second presidential debate and Balmain to the polls on November 8).
It’s been a week since the election, and now we’re starting to hear from the designers. This afternoon French-born, New York-based fashion design Sophie Theallet released a statement to the press—as well as on her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—announcing that she would not be dressing Melania Trump. Period.
“I am well aware it is not wise to get involved in politics,” wrote the designer, known for her fun, bold, brightly-coloured looks. “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.”
She goes on to write: “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. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”
Theallet, who has dressed Michelle Obama on many occasions, also wrote: “Dressing the First Lady Michelle Obama for the past 8 years has been a highlight and an honor. She has contributed to having our name recognized and respected worldwide. Her values, actions, and grace have always resonated deeply within me.”
She closed her open letter with a call to the rest of the industry: “I encourage my fellow designers to do the same. Integrity is our only true currency.”
Talk about drawing a line in the sand. Read the full letter below.