Fashion designers have been biting their tongues and biding their time while weighing the pros and cons of dressing America’s new First Lady, Melania Trump, after many of them publicly supported Hillary Clinton.
Now it seems the silence has been broken as Ralph Lauren is reportedly taking on the task of dressing Trump for Inauguration Day on Friday for two key events — President-elect Donald Trump taking the Oath of Office and the traditional Inauguration Ball later that evening. Lauren is well-versed in presidential design, as the designer also dressed Hillary Clinton on many occasions during her campaign, including her voting day ensemble and the purple pantsuit she wore to deliver her concession speech, a nod to the importance of bipartisanship. In addition to Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld has also been rumored to make a sartorial contribution, though the extent of this is yet to be determined.
Despite the contributions of Lauren, who was a vocal Clinton advocate, several other designers have spoken out to say they refuse to dress former model Melania Trump since the election. Among them are Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Sophie Thelleat, who took to Instagram to share her rationale for not designing for the future First Lady. Other designers have declined to share their intentions, instead making vague statements — like Joseph Altuzarra, who told The New York Times, “I don’t want to not dress people I disagree with.”
The news of Ralph Lauren, who has long been hailed for his Americana aesthetic, upset fans of the brand, who took to Twitter this morning to air their grievances. According to data from Brandwatch, in the past two weeks Ralph Lauren has been mentioned more than 82,000 times, with 83.2 percent of the early mentions holding positive sentiments around events like the Golden Globes. However, today this dipped to 65.4 percent, with 44.6 percent of mentions being negative.
Data from Brandwatch detailing social media sentiment for Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld.
Lagerfeld, on the other hand — who has been involved in several controversies over the course of his career, including criticizing women’s figures and holding a cavalier attitude toward organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of animals — received significantly less backlash. Positive sentiment around the designer and the brand was nearly unchanged from 91.5 percent of mentions over the course of two weeks to 90.6 percent today.
Karl Lagerfeld and Ralph Lauren are both trash.
— Lilliam Rivera (@lilliamr) January 18, 2017
Kellan Terry, senior data analyst at Brandwatch, noted that despite the influx of negative comments about Ralph Lauren, the outcry is far lesser than that against brands like L.L. Bean. The retailer was caught in a maelstrom when Trump thanked Linda Bean, granddaughter of the company’s founder, for her financial backing of his campaign.