For better or worse, save some unforeseen twist of fate, Donald Trump will be commander in chief of the United States of America for the next four years.
During his run for the White House, the free world’s new leader has displayed an uncanny ability to turn 140 characters into headline-making havoc. His Twitter résumé includes threats against Boeing, General Motors and other major corporations. Throughout his campaign, he has also offered up a host of policies that directly impact U.S. companies.
As a (former) businessman, Trump has made it a point to call out other businesses — on Twitter and elsewhere — for various supposed infractions. And fashion firms have been no exception.
For that reason, the new POTUS has had his share of run-ins with the fashion industry.
Here, we round up four of the biggest clashes.
The Macy’s Debacle
In the summer of 2015, Macy’s Inc. stopped selling Donald Trump’s line of shirts, neckties, watches and cuff links after he called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals at the start of his presidential campaign.
Trump immediately retaliated against the department store chain via Twitter, posting a plea for “those who believe in tight border security, stopping illegal immigration & SMART trade deals w/other countries” to boycott the company.
After Trump secured the victory in the 2016 presidential election, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren stood by the firm’s decision to not carry the line and suggested there are no plans to mend the business relationship.
The department store, however, still carries first-daughter-to-be Ivanka Trump’s line, despite threats of a boycott.
The Brand Boycott
Following last year’s release of a 2005 video in which Donald Trump made sexually aggressive statements about women, Shannon Coulter, a marketing specialist in California, took to Twitter and started the #grabyourwallet campaign calling for a boycott of all things Trump. Coulter composed a Google Doc listing several companies — including Amazon, Nordstrom, TJ Maxx and Zappos — that carried Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump’s clothing and accessories lines and encouraged others to join her in boycotting the retail stores.
In four months, the list has grown rapidly to include a wide range of businesses and retailers with ties to Trump.
The Trade Hang Up
Since the majority of footwear and apparel sold in the U.S. is produced in other countries, suffice it to say Trump’s highly publicized anti-trade rhetoric has been a sore spot for the fashion community.
In December, Trump threatened U.S. manufacturers that moved jobs to other countries — but attempted to sell goods back to the U.S. — with aggressive punitive tariffs, as high as 35 percent. He added icing to the cake when he confirmed that, under his leadership, the U.S. would have no parts in the sweeping 12-country trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Fashion industry trade organizations the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) and the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America (FDRA) were none too pleased and lamented the damaging effects of Trump’s potential trade policies on the industry.
The Question of Who Would Outfit Melania Trump
While dressing a first lady is often a boon to business for brands and designers — Michelle Obama and J.Crew and Jacqueline Kennedy and Lilly Pulitzer are two prominent examples — questions about outfitting Melania Trump has divided the fashion industry in an unprecedented way.
Most notably, fashion designer Sophie Theallet shared an open letter to fashion designers via Twitter, following Donald Trump’s victory in November, asking them to join her in refusing to dress or associate with the incoming first lady.
“The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by [Melania’s] husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by,” Theallet wrote.
Trump struck back at Ford, who said he refused to dress Melania Trump because she was “not necessarily” his image. On Fox News this week, the incoming president stated that neither he nor his wife were fans of the designer.