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Elite Fashion Designers Are All For Obama

From a rapturous Washington Post:

Fashion Designers Hope to Stitch Up an Obama Win

By Robin Givhan
Saturday, August 16, 2008; A01

It used to be that political campaigns would be satisfied if they managed to settle on an eye-catching font for their T-shirts and trucker caps. The merchandise wasn’t so much designed as it was stamped out like a pile of red, white and blue bunting. Political paraphernalia was mostly about the message — not the aesthetics.

Now it is enthusiastically and abundantly about style. The Barack Obama campaign, which has been actively courting the fashion industry, has coordinated some 20 or so designers who are creating official merchandise for the candidate’s Web site. It is the first time, as far as Seventh Avenue long-timers can recall, that a quorum of the fashion industry has organized its financial resources and creative energy around a single presidential candidate.

The mix, available online next month, ranges from T-shirts to tote bags and will lend a bit of runway panache to the Obama brand. The list of participating designers, which includes Derek Lam, Isaac Mizrahi, Tracy Reese, Charles Nolan and Diane von Furstenberg, covers the full spectrum of the market, from high-end to inexpensive. Other names have been bandied about but not confirmed: Beyoncé, Russell Simmons, Michael Bastian, Vera Wang

The designer wrangling began at the end of July, after the idea was sparked by grass-roots supporters, according to the campaign. Designers had less than a week to commit to the project, present a sketch to the campaign for approval and then deliver a sample…

Designers were free to use the candidate’s image and his red-white-and-blue rising sun logo. And while they received no strict parameters on pricing, Reese’s original idea of an Obama dress that would have retailed for about $400 was shot down. A one-shouldered silk georgette frock, it presented something of a production challenge, she said. Her company is known for its feminine day dresses “and I thought it would be nice for Michelle” Obama, Reese said.

One of her signature day dresses normally sells for about $500 in stores such as Bergdorf Goodman; in her less-expensive Plenty line, which is sold at Anthropologie, a dress costs about half that.

The campaign approved Reese’s backup option of an applique T-shirt, which she estimated would be priced at about $80

Von Furstenberg was an adamant Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter during the primary. But she shifted her allegiance after the senator from New York lost and after she read Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father.”

Nolan remained uncommitted throughout the primary season because his partner, Andrew Tobias, is treasurer for the Democratic National Committee. “We had to stay neutral. People were so passionate,” Nolan says. “But I’m a huge fan of his. His background is just what we need.” Nolan contributed a wrap T-shirt.

His Chelsea studio will be the setting for “Runway to Change,” a cocktail schmooze-fest for the Obama Victory Fund on Sept. 9, a day that lands in the thick of New York’s Fashion Week. The designers have been asked to wear — or in the case of bags, carry — their Obama paraphernalia to the event

The industry rallied around Michelle Obama when Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, designer Calvin Klein and Vogue Editor at Large Andre Leon Talley hosted a $1,000-a-person cocktail reception and a $10,000-a-plate dinner in honor of the potential first lady. The event reportedly brought in close to $1 million…

And we thought we couldn’t find the Obama crowd any more repellent.

Anyway, you can see the need. Hillary had the ‘Mao jacket’ look all sewn up.

Still, isn’t the Che Guevara guerrilla sportswear line enough?

The Barack Obama campaign, which has been actively courting the fashion industry…

It’s nice to see their priorities.

Remember stories like then the next time someone tells you Republicans are the ‘rich establishment’ — the ‘elites.’

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, August 16th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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