The first daughter certainly isn’t first in American hearts.
Some find her cold and calculating, her book disgustingly out of touch with the plight of the real working mother and her qualifications to work in the White House, well, lacking. But if there’s one thing you can say about Trump’s golden child, it’s that her brand, Ivanka Trump clothing, was a hit — at least for a while.
Here’s what you need to know about the Ivanka Trump clothing brand, which managed to sell out of the dress Ivanka herself wore to the Republican convention and yet poll so low that fewer than 1 in 4 women claim they would buy the apparel.
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Ivanka Trump clothing isn’t always labelled Ivanka Trump
Even if you’re staunchly against buying Ivanka Trump clothing, you might ring up a blouse or purse at the register without knowing. An item from one of her factories might even be hanging in your closet right now thanks to deceptive Adrienne Vittadini labels. Retailers around the U.S., including Florida-based discount retailer Stein Mart, are selling Ivanka Trump clothing under different brand names.
It’s not a mistake, either. G-III Apparel Group, the company that owns the right to manufacture and distribute Ivanka Trump clothing, admitted to selling the first daughter’s clothing with Adrienne Vittadini labels to Stein Mart, allegedly without the knowledge of the Ivanka Trump brand.
Ivanka Trump clothing sales have suffered since Trump took office
Part of that relabeling issue stems from the hit the Ivanka Trump clothing brand has taken since daddy dearest took office. The first daughter’s designs actually raked in the dough in 2016; wholesale revenue for the company surged by 61 percent, Fortune reported, bringing the dollar amount up to $47.3 million. All that changed once Trump took office and started having a field day with false statements (his current count in office is close to 300). Then Trump won the 2016 presidential election and everything changed.
For starters, the brand was projected into the spotlight more than ever before, and both she and her father — and their personal and professional lives — were increasingly associated with the brand. This meant that when Ivanka received criticism for her role in the Trump administration and when Trump himself was accused of sexual assault and misogyny, both cast shadows on the previously under-the-radar brand.
As the gauche cherry on top, the brand and Ivanka herself were criticized for appearing to use the campaign to promote her apparel. After she gave a speech at the Republican National Convention, the brand tweeted out a picture of her on stage with a link for where to buy the outfit which was made up of, you guessed it, Ivanka Trump clothing.
But the brand hit might not have directly affected sales numbers by turning consumers away from a brand associated with the first family. Rather, it might have been large retail stores like Nordstrom and T.J. Maxx yanking Ivanka Trump clothing off their racks that put the nail in the coffin. Additionally, organizations like the grassroots Grab Your Wallet campaign, have added them to their list of brands to boycott.
Ivanka Trump clothing is currently not run by Ivanka...or so she claims
The first daughter announced in January that she was stepping down from the Ivanka Trump clothing brand, putting her brand president Abigail Klem in charge, in order to accept an unpaid position in the Trump White House. But news as recent as April makes it seem like the public bowing out might only have been a show.
After dining with the president of China — yes, after being appointed as an advisor to President Trump and announcing her distance from her personal company — the first daughter landed three Chinese trademarks for the Ivanka Trump brand, allowing her to sell branded bags, perfume and spa services in the country. Raised eyebrows shot up an inch when it was revealed where the dinner talks went down: Mar-a-Lago.
When Ivanka accepted her White House role, she put her brand’s assets into a family-run trust that is valued at more than $50 million. Her attorney also claimed in a statement that she “will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues or the commercial terms of agreements.” Ivanka is still the owner of her company, but the fact that she has any business dealings while holding a White House positions is raising questions of ethics.
Ivanka Trump clothing is not great for women
That’s not editorializing. Although Ivanka has presented herself as an advocate for women’s rights — at least at work — touting the eight weeks paid maternity leave and flexible scheduling her 12-person company offers, a little digging shows at the very least apathy for the plight of the working mom. While those Blessed 12 get plenty of mommy-and-me time for their bouncing babies, the staffers who work at the contractor that produces the Ivanka Trump clothing (G-III Apparel Group) get goose egg when it comes to paid maternity leave. Yes, zero days.
G-III Apparel Group only offers their workers the legal minimum for companies with more than 50 employees: twelve weeks of unpaid leave and no flexible hours for new parents. There’s nothing showing that Ivanka has ever questioned these practices or advocated for better leave structure at G-III, as the Washington Post reports. Though she declined to give a comment through her spokesperson on the Post piece, her ongoing work with G-III speaks volumes for her actual concern for “Women Who Work” and also want to have babies.
Ivanka Trump clothing factories are ugly places to work
The workers in Chinese factories that produce Ivanka Trump clothing and shoes make the equivalent of about $1 a week according to recent reporting. Then, this month, The Guardian spoke to workers at Ivanka Trump clothing factories in Indonesia, who catalogued a seemingly endless string of inhumane working conditions, including pay so low they cannot afford to live with their children, verbal abuse from managers, impossible production goals which are then used as reasoning for sporadic or lack of payment for overtime work. That also comes hot on the heels of the mysterious disappearance of labor activists investigating Chinese factory work conditions and possible abuses into police custody.