How are fashion brands used as a political tool by Melania Trump?

Written by Georgie Friend |

Fashion speaks volumes: it’s a piece that we wear expressing the very essence of our personalities. Whoever you are, from myself, to the woman sat next to me on the plane. Fashion’s voice speaks to people in every shape of emotion. It’s a typical warmish day in Washington, Melania Trump slips on her Zara purchase (£29) and makes her journey to the Texas border as a surprise visit the very core of the family separation crisis.

The First Lady’s jacket bought from Spanish fashion high-street brand Zara, shocked many people across the globe when their eyes met the slogan, printed boldly across the back, “I don’t care, do you?” Although the message was being sent loud and clear, one thought, who is she aiming this message out to? What is the meaning?

Sending her message like her husband, Mrs Trump’s voice in this matter is silent yet at the same time brutal and sharp. What seemed like a cute little pit stop before hitting the shopping malls with Donald’s credit card, Melania sent her message loud and clear that she isn’t fazed by the upset her husband has caused (brutal statement I know reader, yet isn’t her message just the same?)

Zara isn’t to blame, although the press can be negative or positive for the brand’s image and popularity. The First Lady has had the public in anger from platforms such as Twitter to Instagram. Named heartless, insensitive, uncaring and inhuman. A spokeswoman for Melania commented “It’s a jacket, there was no hidden message.” Her husband President Trump took to twitter stating that his wife no longer cares for fake news, that was what her Zara buy was stating for her verbally without her having to open her mouth.

While we arrange the direction of the coats statement to the separated families, it got me thinking this jacket can mean multiple things. This statement could be about anyone or any subject Melania wants us to think. Fashion’s voice is universal, it speaks to us as an individual, yet the rest of the population, they can assume and be interested or horrified by a statement.

Although Melania uses fashion to express her personal feelings. I wondered if other wives of political figures have done the same. Wife to former British Prime Minister David Cameron, Samantha Cameron turned fashion designer. During her husband’s time as Prime Minister, Mrs Cameron used fashion to show the general public there’s more to 10 Downing Street than political gatherings.

Samantha brought chic flare to the cobbles of Downing Street. She turned her silent voice to fashion, wearing designers such as Alessandra Rich, Erdem Moralioglu and classic high street brands such as Hobbs and Ted Baker. From these fashionable appearances, Samantha became a designer herself creating tailored and classical shapes for the busy modern woman.

Different approaches taken by each of these ladies. It shows how fashion can walk hand in hand with many from culture to politics. This jacket was made to introduce a feeling, a thought process – fashion can introduce us to new ways of thinking and feeling. In this instance, acting to cleverly connect us as a society to feel and think what we feel is right or wrong. I don’t condone the action the First Lady took in such an intense and sensitive event. Fashion can be used to demonstrate and its made an impact, I feel there’s more to come from this First Lady and she won’t tame herself to fit the mould of previous Ladies before her.