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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Did the First Lady Do the Garment District a Disservice?

Nanette Lepore and Michelle Obama.
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Ardent Garment District supporter and designer Nanette Lepore has taken Michelle Obama to task for the Alexander McQueen dress she wore to the state dinner in honor of China a few weeks ago. Read the latest New York Magazine article on this here. What do you think, readers? Is it the First Lady's duty to stick to American designers only?

18 comments:

  1. I loved the dress but it would have been nice for her to have worn a made in America dress. But, on the other hand, how much choice does she actually have of designers who still make their clothing in NYC? I know that Oscar de la Renta does, but he's not exactly her style.

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  2. Yes, the least she could do is wear an American Designer. Sure not much is produced on American soil, but Alexander McQueen? I had such high hopes when Michelle Obama wore Isabel Toledo -What happen?

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  3. Yes, I believe she should. When Princess Diana was still married to the Prince of Wales she favored British designers for her public appearances. It looks bad when our own First Lady doesn't support American designers.

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  4. Do I think that one of the jobs of the First Lady is to promote US goods? Yes I do. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are our senators and they wear New York clothing all the time. The President wears US-made suits. I think one of the issues for Mrs. Obama is that from Day One, she's been criticized for what she wears and how she wears it. The black and red dress from Election night was given a lot of slams. Her exposing her arms (for goodness sake) has been slammed. There is always someone out there who is going to go after her for what she wears and how she looks (that actually makes her no different than any female public figure - can we say "Hillary Clinton and her pant suits" and "OMG - Hillary might had shown some cleavage!" )I think Mrs. Obama has gotten to the point with this where she's decided that if she can't please people, she's going to please herself. I'm sorry she has been so criticized - but it makes her just like the rest of us. Women in this country never feel comfortable or confident because we are always made to feel we are too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too busty, too hippy, too 'not right'. If NY Garment district wants Mrs. Obama to bring her custom there, then they should arrange with Chuck and Kirsten to have her visit the showrooms, get some personalized service and give her the opportunity to see how many jobs this just might mean. Standing outside and yelling 'You're not giving us the attention we want' doesn't do anything. And at this point, because she's gotten so much heat, Mrs. Obama does not exactly have a whole lot of incentive to come to Fashion Ave. since it would appear to be some sort of apology on her part.

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  5. In her position, it would have been the right thing to do. I am surprised mrs.Obama and her staff didn't see this as a possible problem.

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  6. I disagree. Mrs. Obama should not be expected to wear 100% American-made and designed clothes for the entire duration of her husband's presidency. Us women know how personal style and fashion choices are, and if she's drawn to a frock by a foreign designer, she shouldn't have to forgo wearing that piece simply because it's not made in NYC or the US. How boring for her (and us!).

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  7. When so much clothing is produced in China or wherever, I don't feel bad for the designers whose clothes Michella Obama is NOT wearing.

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  8. I think that her comments were incredibly disparaging and, IMHO, Nanette Lepore was right to take her to task on it.

    Although the First Lady does not receive a salary, she is a public figure, whether she likes it or not. And she receives a budget which provides for a staff of 20+ people, including a press secretary. You would think they would have a handle on this issue by now.

    I don't necessarily think that she should have to wear all American. BUT as the First Lady of the United States, I do think that she should be an outspoken champion for all things American, including our fashion industry.

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  9. First of all, I think it's ridiculous that a highly educated and accomplished businesswoman is being treated like a fashionplate or a schmatte goods mover. Way to trivialize women, America!

    Michelle Obama has worn many American designers and lines over the last couple of years, some of whom many Americans had never heard of. We are supposed to be a sophisticated society, and a major player in the global arena. Sophisticated citizens wear beautiful clothes from whatever source.

    Are you telling me that Jackie Kennedy -- I find the comparison with Michelle Obama a little silly, but it was constantly made -- always wore American designers?

    Another typical time-wasting discussion promoted by the media. As if what Michelle Obama wears has any effect on the migration of manufacturing abroad and any number of truly pressing problems facing this nation.

    New York Sewer

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  10. This is the country that made a big deal over Hillary Clinton's wearing of headbands when her husband was running for president the first time around.

    Headbands.

    What a pathetic sense of priorities, then as now.

    New York Sewer

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  11. Ms Obama has been wearing US designers pretty damn much since we've been aware of her, on the whole. Even better, she's been wearing some down-home US clothes like JCrew cardigans. On this occasion, she wore a gorgeous dress which was a compliment to her hosts. What more do you want? Wouldn't you rather think about what's in her head rather than on her butt? Leave the woman alone. I'm with anonymous, what an utterly pathetic sense of priorities..

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  12. What Toby and New York Sewer said.

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  13. Agreed! There are far more meaningful ways to show support for American industries. Wearing a non-American designer doesn't make her anymore un-American than if she ate at a Chinese restaurant. There's a fine line between patriotism and pigheadedness.

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  14. I think an important occasion like a State Dinner at the White House does call for careful consideration of the First Lady's attire, since the photos will be carefully studied all over the world. In this case, an American designer would have been the appropriate choice. At less formal occasions and events, let the First Lady (or the Secretary of State) wear anything they please.

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  15. I agree with Toby and New Yorker Sewer. The First Lady is a sophiticated and successful business women. She doesn't have to prove herself to anyone. I appreciate the fact that she works on the community issues that are important to her and at the same time works hard at keeping as much normalcy as possible with her children and making sure that stay grounded. She makes time to take care of her body 3 times a week. In my book she has done an incredible job with her attire. I appreciate that her warerobe includes not only top designers, but JCrew, Talbots,etc. Matter of fact I brought a skirt from Talbots because I saw the First Lady sporting it. We as women are so quick to tear each other down, how about we be quick to lift each other up no what our postion life. PS. If I worked out 3 time/wk and her arms like the First Lady.....I would go sleeveless too.

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  16. This brouhaha is ridiculous. When I volunteered for a political campaign years ago, they said they only wanted people with American cars to run errands for the campaign. Really?!Really?!?!?!

    We live in a global economy and a global culture. To insist that we support only American businesses is unrealistic and silly.

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  17. I was very disappointed in the Nanette Lapore article because it took Mrs. Obama to task for one dress! How many times has she worn a dress from Talbots, J. Crew or another American retailer and the dress has sold out. How many women have gone back to shopping at the same retailers because of the light that was shown upon their products.

    I truly believed that she picked a beautiful red dress to wear because red is a favored color of the Chinese people. All of this brouhaha over one dress when most of her wardrobe has not only highlighted up & coming designers, as well as retailers is just ridiculous and I have to say was a bit beneath Ms. Lapore.

    There were two things that killed most garment manufacturing in NYC. Unions and the greed of manufacturers who moved their manufacturing processes overseas to make as much money as they possibly could. Now they have to live with the consequences and whether or not Michelle Obama wears a dress by an American designer or not is not going to save an industry that put a knife in its own heart!

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  18. I think you should be proud of a first lady who wears anything from H&M to couture with pride. In my opinion she´s a first lady to all the american people. If she occasionally wears non-american designers I should take that as a sign that she consider american designers worldclass!

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