Designer Sophie Theallet Vows Never To Work With Melania Trump

Her open letter encourages other designers to protest Donald Trump's racism and sexism.
Douliery Olivier/ABACA USA/ABACA USA

In her eight years in the White House, Michelle Obama became a sweetheart of the fashion world, beloved by designers thrilled to dress her. For at least one of those industry stars, those days are gone.

French designer Sophie Theallet vowed never to dress incoming first lady Melania Trump in an open letter posted to her Twitter account Thursday night.

Theallet, who is based in New York City and has designed collections for Lane Bryant, explained in the letter that her brand “stands against all discrimination and prejudice” and calls her runway shows, campaigns and celebrity dressings “a celebration of diversity and reflection of the world we live in.”

In that spirit, she decided not to dress Trump.

“As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next first lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by,” wrote Theallet.

Theallet called her work with Obama, someone whose “values, actions and grace” resonate with her, “a highlight and an honor.”

Michelle Obama wearing Sophie Theallet, 2011.
Michelle Obama wearing Sophie Theallet, 2011.

Obama wore and repeated Theallet’s designs over the years. One of the designs was even nearly cloned for a collection Theallet did with the Gap back in 2011.

It’s a bold move to weigh in on politics, one that Theallet said herself might not be wise. But she also called on her fellow designers to follow suit, reminding them that “integrity is our only true currency.”

Meanwhile, it’s unclear whether or not the future first lady even intends to be dressed by designers when her husband’s presidency begins in January. After all, she wore her own purchased clothing on the campaign trail. Business of Fashion recently declared “Fashion Will Learn To Love Melania Trump,” but InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown told the outlet her staff “have no plans” to cover Mrs. Trump.

Whatever happens in the future, this is certainly a big about-face from the last eight years.

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