President Donald Trump does not back down from a fight.
From his controversial campaign to his surprise election and the year that followed, there has been no shortage of battles. And somehow, the fashion industry has been a fertile ground when the commander-in-chief seeks to wage verbal warfare.
Here, we round up eight times Trump clashed with the fashion industry on Twitter and elsewhere.
Trump Weighs In on Nike’s Ad With Ex-NFL Star Colin Kaepernick
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines on Monday after unveiling a new ad with Nike for the 30th anniversary of the brand’s “Just Do It” campaign, sharing the news on social media with the caption, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” (Kaepernick, who’s been a Nike athlete since 2011, stirred controversy after he knelt during the national anthem prior to a game in the 2016 NFL preseason to protest police brutality and discrimination against people of color.)
In an interview yesterday with The Daily Caller, President Donald Trump denounced Nike’s campaign, saying, “I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it. But I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it.” However, he added that the sportswear giant is entitled to make its own decisions: “As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way — I mean, I wouldn’t have done it. In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”
The Travel Ban Backlash
Trump’s decision in January to sign a controversial executive order restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries was met with nationwide backlash — and the fashion world was none too shy to join the fray. Nike CEO Mark Parker, Under Armour chief Kevin Plank and designers Kenneth Cole and Naeem Khan were among those to publicly denounce the ban. A leaked company memo from Nordstrom co-presidents Blake, Pete and Erik Nordstrom condemning the executive order later made the rounds on social media in February.
Trump Goes After Amazon on Twitter
For some time, Amazon has been a favorite target for Trump. In August, the president went after the e-giant, tweeting: “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt — many jobs being lost.” While it was unclear whether Trump was referring to Amazon’s collection of sales tax or its payment of taxes to the government, Amazon’s shares took a dip on the heels of the post. Trump also took aim at Amazon in July when he tweeted: “Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?” And before 2017 was over, Trump had one more shot left for Amazon. On Dec. 29, the president used his Twitter account yet again to criticize the company, writing: “Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!”
Fashion Leaders Urge Trump to Keep U.S. in Paris Climate Agreement
In May, 25 companies including VF Corp., Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co. teamed up to run an advertisement in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, urging the president to stay in the Paris climate agreement. Trump would withdraw from the treaty on June 1.
Trump Nixes TPP
Many footwear and apparel industry stakeholders had placed significant expectations around the U.S. remaining a part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country trade agreement that was projected to save the shoe industry $6 billion in taxes over a 10-year period. Trump’s January decision to withdraw from TPP — a pact the U.S. and countries such as Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia entered into in 2015 — drew criticism from trade organizations such as the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America and the American Apparel & Footwear Association. Meanwhile, fashion industry heavy hitters such as Nike had been vocal proponents of TPP.
Trump Slams Nordstrom on Twitter
Nordstrom’s decision at the start of the year to cut first daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion line — citing slipping sales — was not well-received by her father. The president in February took to Twitter to express discontent: “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom,” he tweeted. “She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” While Nordstrom asserted that its decision to drop the brand was apolitical, a leaked companywide memo from the department store’s co-presidents slamming Trump’s immigration ban cast some doubt for some.
Outdoor Retailers Blast Trump’s Policies Around National Monuments
Outdoor retailers this year faced an uphill climb after Trump in April signed an executive order to review national monuments that were created since 1996. Utah’s support of the Trump administration’s proposal to slash the size of Bears Ears National Monument prompted the Outdoor Retailer show in February to launch a search for a new home, which turned out to be Denver (announced in July). Among the backlash, Patagonia president and CEO Rose Marcario lambasted Trump’s national monuments executive order in an April blog post, writing: “Trump and his team prefer to cater to fossil fuel interests and state land grabs for unsustainable development rather than preserve a vital part of our nation’s heritage for future generations by protecting federal lands owned by every citizen.”
Meanwhile, REI encouraged its customers to contact Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the importance of protecting public lands.
After Trump this month further moved to cut Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante by nearly half, Patagonia delivered a bold message to its consumers on the homepage of its website: “The President Stole Your Land.”
Trump Takes to Twitter to Criticize His Own Manufacturing Council
In the wake of the president’s highly controversial response to the outbreak of white supremacy violence in Charlottesville, Va., several key leaders — including Under Armour chief Kevin Plank — resigned from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council. And in true Trump fashion, the president took to Twitter to address the fallout: “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” the president tweeted. He later disbanded the council.