- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2016

A favorite of Michelle Obama’s fashion designers is vowing not to dress incoming first lady Melania Trump, and she’s calling on other designers to do the same.

French designer Sophie Theallet penned a letter Thursday evening saying her brand is taking a stand against the “rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed” by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“As an immigrant myself in this country, I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue my dreams in the USA,” she wrote. “Dressing the First Lady Michelle Obama for the past 8 years has been a highlight and an honor… Her values, actions, and grace have always resonated deeply with me.”

However, she continued, “[a]s 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,” she wrote. “I encourage my fellow designers to do the same.”

Ms. Theallet acknowledged that her boycott might have a financial impact on her brand, but asserted, “[i]ntegrity is our only true currency.”

“[A]s a family-owned company, our bottom line is not just about money. We value our artistic freedom and always humbly seek to contribute to a more humane, conscious and ethical way to create in this world,” she wrote.

Other brands have spoken out against the president-elect, but Ms. Theallet appears to be the first designer to boycott the new first family, The Hill reported.

Joseph Altuzarra, whose clothes have been worn by Ivanka Trump, told The New York Times last week, “I don’t want to not dress people I disagree with.”

Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone echoed his words: “It would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump. If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs.”

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