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Politicians and fashion designers are increasingly working together to benefit everyone – WWD

Designers and politicians have long appreciated what they get from occasional partnerships.

For decades, American and European designers have dressed leading politicians and their respective spouses for important photo shoots such as inauguration ceremonies, state dinners, weddings, and other media-focused occasions. It’s been a race to dress up.

Gabriella Hearst, for example, was not only first lady Jill Biden’s favorite designer, but she also ran for president. Prabal Gurung, who is dressed up for the event, relied on another insider at the party, his friend Huma Abedin, to present him with the Humanitarian Award from Fashion Group International. of Stars” was released in November last year.

With millions of social media followers, familiar names like Ralph Lauren, Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Vera Wang offer political figures more than sleek design It is possible. While some, like her current FLOTUS, are hesitant to identify the designers she prefers in public, there’s no denying the fact that fashion can bring people of all political beliefs together. .

While such partnerships inevitably have some overlap with their respective audiences, they often have the opportunity to attract new people to both sides. says so. Politicians who partner with designers already have a core following. But this is another way to reach a wider audience that you may not have direct access to. ”

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

General social media posts and global media coverage of recent political family weddings (Naomi Biden’s White House wedding and Tiffany Trump’s Mar-a-Lago waterfront incident) , reflecting a growing interest in fashion.

But going back to the ties between designers and politicians, while designers can potentially attract new shoppers, politicians are more vulnerable to political parties and politicians, especially as microfundraising continues to become more important. Based in Georgia, we’ve seen a lot of fundraising through social media from both sides,” Schweidel said. [in the U.S. Senate runoff race],” He said.

As designers continue to work more routinely with politicians for special events, they are often aligned with people with similar views and beliefs. Politicians are looking to form partnerships beyond the clothing they might get from that designer. They are also using it to expand their platform,” said Schweidel.

Acknowledging that social media is the go-to source of information for the younger generation, not only from a business perspective but also from a social perspective, he said designers and politicians are increasingly working together to spread a shared message. I expect Schweidel, who has studied social media for more than a decade, noted that it has moved from text-based content to video content that is more immersive for consumers.As Designers Think ‘How To Disrupt A Runway Show’ [footage] To help people get a similar experience, they try to do more than just use static photos of politicians wearing their labels. Designer photo shoots are one-off media posts, but they want to make the stories and videos behind them more relevant.

Boston College professor Michael Serazioa expects designers to align themselves with more leftists. “Maybe it’s my false prejudice that the fashion industry is going left-leaning. I think that assumption is probably correct on certain issues, like environmentalism, LGBQT rights, etc. Marjorie Taylor Green’s I wonder how many designers would be interested in working with such Trump-style Republicans or more conservative politicians. But other designers like Ralph Lauren have been bipartisan over the years in dressing political figures… on her wedding day.)

“Broadly speaking, there has been a shift in American politics toward highly symbolic and performative gestures that translate into looks seen in fashion. There is this idea of ​​voting for certain politicians because they see their identity reflected as much as the policies they endorse,” said Serazioa. “If that’s true, then of course it makes sense to align yourself with certain designers who may share your values ​​and ideologies.”

Similarly, there is a lot of consumer research on how consumers spend based on brand values ​​and purpose-driven marketing. Well aware of recent research showing how shoppers buy products based on a brand’s political values, he said: both sides of the aisle. It is partly a product of everything, and more is openly politicized. ”

A chapter in his book, The Authenticity Industries, due out next year by Stanford University Press, explores how advertisers, politicians, social media companies, and entertainment companies are trying to make things look authentic. I’m here. “Everyone from reality TV casting directors to political consultants to brand managers to influencer agencies. It’s basically arguing that America is now obsessed with authenticity.” And culture has a whole industry behind the scenes, whose job it is to effectively sell us a look of authenticity.

Rahul Bhargava, assistant professor of journalism and arts and design at Northeastern University, points out that many politicians are using lessons from influencers and others to gain online attention from people and the media. Did. Fashion is a big part of that. Regarding his research on gender coverage of politicians, he said: When I research them, I see more fashion coverage than before,” he said.

What’s causing this? Politicians are working more with designers, which generates more press. Acknowledging that both women have a high-low approach to fashion, Bhargava said, choosing clothing that identifies them as a person is the opposite trend. Choosing a designer can be perceived as an effort to appeal to different segments of the audience they are trying to speak to.

“It’s happening more and more. Part of that is reinforcing their political messages and policies. Another part of it is that they’re politicians is something very different. I think it’s really hard to tell,” he said.

ivanka trump, tiffany trump, lara trump, tiffany trump wedding

Lara Trump, Marla Maples, Tiffany Trump, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle attend Tiffany Trump’s wedding at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on November 12.

photo courtesy

Whereas Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s choice of a Brother Velize gown stamped with “Tax the Rich” at the 2021 Met Gala was a fashion statement and reflected her policy. , Obama’s FLOTUS-era dress codes for brands and designers didn’t matter much, Bhargava said, such as policies on images and optics. Cinema, which is about optics and identity, a choice unrelated to policy goals, often follows a similar route, he added. It’s much more common among female candidates, both in and online news.”

Photo: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 9/13/21 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the 2021 Met Gala celebrating in America: A Fashion Dictionary.  (New York City)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a Brother Velize dress to the Met Gala.


From his standpoint, historically treating politicians like celebrities has been a way of degrading their policy positions. [2008 Republican vice president nominee] Sarah Palin.she had a lot of interviews [about] Treating her like a celebrity, and that was one of the ways any of her policies were overruled. . [to the 2019 State of the Union address] in relation to suffrage.

Overall, however, women politicians’ fashions are talked about more than their male counterparts, and several studies have found that female politicians are not taken seriously by trivializing them or treating them as celebrities. He said it is shown. Noting how the late former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright used her affinity for brooches, Bhargava said cinema would use fashion more as an influencer and less as a politician. rice field. As our politicians’ identities become more reflective of our complex world, their fashion statements become more diverse and emblematic of their identities.

“Look at our vice president. She’s American, she’s Asian American, she’s part of a cross-cultural family, she’s also African American. It’s a lot of identity,” he said. .

As people like Kamala Harris are elected, there is a greater effort to understand how to express their identity through fashion without trivializing their choices as purely what they wear. “They would rather talk about it as a reflection of part of their identity,” said Bhagava.

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