Since the Obama administration left the White House, we've seen many designers go with it. In addition to customers boycotting Ivanka Trump's clothing line, industry names like Tom Ford, Derek Lam, and Sophie Theallet have spoken out against dressing the First Family. And in an interview with The Daily Beast, designer and Project Runway judge Zac Posen added himself to that list, stating he has "no current plans" to dress Melania (who sat from at his fall 2004 show) or Ivanka Trump (who wore one of his designs to the 2015 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner), citing fundamental differences.
Those core contrasts include the administration's tampering with bills set in place to protect women and the LGBT community, which Posen fervently supports via his Instagram and personal life. "Right now, I’m staying away from bringing my brand into politics," he said. "There are issues that are being questioned that are fundamentally upsetting to me — deeply: LGBT rights, immigration, funding for the arts, Planned Parenthood, and women’s rights. These are just issues that are very close to my heart, and I use my own private voice and funds to fight for them and in support of them. I think it’s important to use your voice. I think that every brand and person has a right to be vocal."
So far, designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Diane von Furstenberg, and Thom Browne have all spoken in favor of dressing the First Lady. Similarly, the designers behind rag&bone told The New York Times that the refusal to dress the First Lady is somewhat of an oxymoron: "It would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump," he said. "If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs."
Posen, however, disagrees: "I’m very upset with the state of affairs right now," he said. "I always try to be optimistic. I think that freedom will prevail. And I don’t dictate who buys my clothing in a store." Posen also shared his thoughts on feminism, and cautioned the fashion industry in how it advocates for the idea. “You can’t market or commercialize feminism as an entity. One has to be careful. I aim to be about powerful women in my clothing. It’s important that I support the amazing women that I’m able to work with. And being able to self-create is the message I want to share to the generation of young people being born now.”
The designer often addresses the younger generation on his Instagram, and the aforementioned "powerful women" open and close his shows every season. His pal Naomi Campbell closed his fall 2015 show, which saw the brand a ton of media coverage, and for his fall 2016 collection (which was inspired by a Ugandan princess), Posen filled his runway with majority black models in support of the Black Models Matter movement. He considers himself "very pro-woman," and says his artisanal process acts as a response to the "disposability and speed of culture."