Why Are Fashion Designers Refusing To Dress Melania Trump?


Melania Trump For Harpers Bazaar


Michelle Obama has always been well-dressed. Any gown she wears (we’re thinking of that Versace number she recently showcased!) is in high demand, with clothes flying off the racks. In the UK, Kate Middleton has a similar, if not more potent effect on clothes sales. You only have to see how many rip-offs of her engagement ring were around to know that women in power have power over fashion.

FLOTUS and fashion seem to go hand-in-hand. Think about Jackie Kennedy, for example. Dressing Melania Trump, one would think, would have the same effect. However, one fashion designer is decidedly against it and is calling on others to follow her lead.

Sophie Theallet released a letter on Twitter explaining why, even after dressing Michelle Obama on multiple occasions, she’d rather avoid association with Melania Trump.

“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 wrote.

The French designer went on to say: “As an immigrant myself in this country, I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue my dreams in the USA. 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.”

Signing the letter with “Integrity is our only true currency.”

This is problematic, and yet, many other brands and influencers feel the same. The Obamas had a large celebrity following, many fashion editors and brands were more than happy to work with them. Michelle herself had been on the cover of Vogue three times.

Anna Wintour supported Hillary Clinton, as did many other celebrities. Can we expect fashion, celebrity, and politics to stay divided because the main influencers didn’t support Donald Trump?

On the one hand, I admire Sophie for standing by her beliefs, but on the other hand, can we really say fashion designers and brands will follow Sophie’s lead?

Outside of politics, there are controversial people in the world in high positions of power that still have brands and businesses working with them. I say this not in support of that fact, but just to point out that all eyes will be on the major fashion designers and magazines these coming weeks to see how they handle this.

Will people stand up for what they believe in like Sophie did? Will we see an uncoupling of Vogue and the First Lady? Also, on the other hand, should we judge Melania by the same standards that we judge her husband?

It’s tricky, I can almost hear the arguments in my head here, but it’s problematic to tell someone they can’t do something because we don’t like their choice of husband. Melania has overcome her own problems, but it is a good point that she has stood alongside while her husband has said abhorrent things! It’s a tricky issue.

I don’t know, but to me, it’s a bit problematic. I’d love to know what you think about all this?


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Managing Editor

Beth is the Managing Editor of CGD. She is a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy, has published a short story and loves to read creative writing manuals in her spare time.

  • KateMartin2

    Ha! Has she actually even asked any of them for help? Seems like she’s doing just fine.

    • Awhsum

      I agree!

    • carissa lucas


    • MihaBalan

      hahah so true :)

  • Lisi

    If all of us stopped working with racists and people who support them… they wouldn’t be elected and the world would be a better place! That is democracy as well! You are promoting very strange views here lately – so I’m sorry, but I won’t support this Blog anymore. Which is – again – also democracy and freedom of choice.

  • Lexi

    Nah, I’m not buying this for one second. You can go on about how he won the election all you want, but the fact is that he DID espouse hateful rhetoric which hurt many, many people. This isn’t just a matter of disagreement over politics, this is a matter of millions of people fearing for their safety both from his presidency and the hate crimes he has emboldened since the election. She stood by his side through all of it. That makes her complicit in that hatred. Same as every single person who voted for him.

    I hope more designers join her. The Trump family needs to learn that there are consequences to their words and actions.

    • I agree with you Lexi. This is the most controversial election yet. I was trying to create a balanced article here and play devil’s advocate a little but I think some of my main points got a little lost – in essence I’m just wondering whether we can expect others to follow her lead? Will Vogue for example, run an issue with Melania on the front? Will they lose credibility if they do? Thanks for the comment, it’s really interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. X

  • Fiona

    While I wouldn’t normally advocate judging a woman by her husband’s actions, Melania has not (to my knowledge) ever distanced herself from Trump’s rhetoric. Her silence can be taken as support.
    I don’t know if others will follow Sophie’s lead, but I hope they do. I have no doubts Melania will still find plenty of designers willing to dress her but I think fashion designers should stand up for their beliefs.
    The events with “Hamilton” this weekend led to a discussion in the arts community (which I consider fashion to be a part of in many ways) about whether artists can and should have opinions and when they should or shouldn’t make those opinions heard. It really is a tricky issue but seeing as the VP-Elect has consistently supported bills where business owners can refuse service due to their religion, I find it only fair that that logic is turned back on the President-Elect, VP-Elect, and their supporters.

  • Charmaine Ng

    I admire her for standing up to her beliefs, and as much as I hope so, I doubt the rest of the fashion world would follow. Fashion was always about doing business, the fame and the money.
    PS: I had to google “FLOTUS”.
    – Charmaine

    • Haha Charmaine, I’ve heard ‘FLOTUS’ and ‘POTUS’ so many times in the run up to this election it’s almost second nature to use it! I agree with you, but I can also see the viewpoint that maybe we shouldn’t punish her for this – I don’t know. It divides people, but I really love reading everyone’s views about it. It helps to have a good discussion every now and again x

  • Cuqui

    I believe in the Humana race. With all our faults imperfections and willingness to stand up for what we believe. However we shouldn’t judge people for what their significant others say or do. I believe in giving everyone a chance and see what developes. Sometimes we can be surprise at the results. During this season of holidays maybe we should give someone a chance… no matter what they design, political position etc… Its a sad Ms. Theallet feels that way but it is her right. However we have become so divided that it is truly soo sad! For one moment think how truly inspiring it could be if instead of being divided we could come together around our differences!

    Lady with the glass always 1/4 of the way full!

  • Robin

    Hillary Clinton stood next to her husband during all the things that happened to him and she is praised even though one of the most important things about being an independent strong woman is standing up for yourself and having self respect. I find what he did disgusting and nobody is shaming her for standing with him silently. I think Melania deserves just as much respect as every other FLOTUS. She is an immigrant as well as a beautiful strong intelligent woman yet she is being belittled by people who are judging her based on what her husband says. Who by the way is not as hateful as the media puts out, he has women and people of color in high positions of power. ALSO nobody wants to mention that we just had the first woman to successfully run a presidential campaign. There is so much discussion about being open minded and loving yet I’ve seen a lot of hate towards OUR future president. Frankly, he hasn’t even done anything yet as president so why not be open minded, loving, and supportive towards him and show him that we ARE all equal? Just live your life and be the best person you can be, lead by example.

    • MihaBalan

      I totally agree, everyone forgets what Bill Clinton has done and she was there by his side.

  • DMarie24

    I have a difficult time respecting Melania Trump as a First Lady. Her very promiscuous pictures do not give me reason to hold her in high esteem and the fact that she never responded to any of the negative comments made by her husband. It is hard to except her in the same category with Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, or Jackie Kennedy. I can’t blame any designer who does not want to dress her, what does she stand for? What does she represent for America?

  • Samantha @ Pursuit of Balance

    Great post and no doubt, there will be a lot of differing opinions on the topic. I am not a Trump supporter by any stretch of the imagination, but when it comes down to choices like Sophie Theallet choice, it is just that, a choice. We all have the right to free speech and to make decisions about what we will and will not stand for. I can’t say whether or not I would make the same choice, but I respect that she is standing up for what she believes in.

  • Kathy DeBlasi

    I have a hard time reading such a biased, one sided “article”. How can you make a generalized statement saying all fashion designers are basically black listing Melania Trump? Do you know every fashion designer? Where are your facts, the one designer you listed? You should focus on real content, and stop trying to spin political views. I am curious to know if you are even from the United States?

  • ArkMominNY

    There’s no question about what Melania Trump is, the only question is how much she charged. She’s a gold-digger soft porn model who sold herself for a gold plated castle. Who wants to associate their brand with that! She’s a disgrace to the White House and the role of FLOTUS.

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