The old switcheroo
Whether you’ve been avoiding Ivanka Trump’s fashion and accessory lines like the plague or hunting down the First Daughter’s creations every chance you get, you’ve generally been able to count on one thing: the clothing and accessories will prominently feature Ivanka Trump’s famous name, so you can worship or revile it, as you choose.
But some of Trump’s items have appeared at discount retailer Stein Mart under the fashion world’s version of a nom de plume.
After a slew of higher-end retailers dropped the Trump line from their stores (only because of slow sales, they say . . . okay sure, there couldn’t possibly be any other reason . . .), Ivanka’s controversial products showed up at Stein Mart with controversy-free “Adrienne Vittadini Studio” labels.
No “Trump” indicators in sight.
Business of Fashion shows that a company called G-III Apparel Group owns the manufacturing and distribution rights for Ivanka Trump products. Without informing Trump, the company appears to have relabeled her clothing and sold it to Stein Mart (and maybe elsewhere).
“G-III accepts responsibility for resolving this issue, which occurred without the knowledge or consent of the Ivanka Trump organisation,” said a representative for G-III in a statement. “G-III has already begun to take corrective actions, including facilitating the immediate removal of any mistakenly labelled merchandise from its customer. The Ivanka Trump brand continues to grow and remains very strong.”
Believe it or not, this isn’t actually a super weird or unusually sketchy thing to do in the fashion world. Many brands that want to appear upscale go to great lengths to keep their labels out of discount retailers. Labels are often swapped out, or just totally removed, before the clothes get to stores like Marshalls or Stein Mart.
But Trump’s lines are sold (with her name on them) at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, so the Stein Mart situation is slightly flummoxing.
A professor of fashion law spoke to Business of Fashion and confirmed that switching labels is totally legal, “so long as the entity making the substitution is identified on the new label and keeps records for three years.” Adrienne Vittadini, the new label, would also need to be informed to keep everything on the straight and narrow, and Adrienne Vittadini is licensed by a separate organization – Authentic Brands Group.
There’s clearly a straightforward explanation for G-III’s switch: removing Trump’s name protects her products from the polarizing effect of her name. Stein Mart CEO D. Hunt Hawkins told Business of Fashion that the relabeling wasn’t about politics at all.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Equal amounts say that they don’t and do want Ivanka Trump products in the store. #TrumpFashion” quote=”That “an equal number of [customers] say that they don’t want and do want [Ivanka Trump products] in the store.”]
Hawkins says this as if it eliminates any element of politics, but really it shows clearly that secretly removing her name could bring back half the customers without annoying the other half. At least this time Ivanka herself wasn’t involved in the deceit – as far as we know.