A social campaign encouraging customers to boycott Ivanka Trump's fashion brand (and the hashtag accompanying it, #GrabYourWallet) went viral this week. The daughter of the Republican presidential nominee declined to comment about this campaign targeted at her business — until now.
In an interview with Good Morning America that coincided with the new Trump-branded hotel (funnily enough) on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., George Stephanopoulos asked all of the Trump children how their father's presidential campaign has affected their own companies, specifically pressing Ivanka on #GrabYourWallet. "The beauty of America is people can do what they like," she said. "But I'd prefer to talk to the millions — the tens of millions — of American women who are inspired by the brand and the message that I've created."
"My advocacy of women, trying to empower them in every aspect of their lives, started long before the presidential campaign did. I've never politicized that message," Trump told GMA. "People who are seeking to politicize it because they disagree with the politics of my father — there's nothing I can do to change that."
Now that we're less than two weeks away from Election Day, we'll know soon enough how this plays out.
This story was originally published on October 25, 2016.
Despite her proximity to her father's presidential campaign, Ivanka Trump has attempted to keep her business separate from the 2016 election. "I've made a very conscious decision to stay away from [political content on my site] because it would bring, certainly, noise and attention, but that's not the long-term goal," she said of her relationship to the cycle at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit earlier this month. Still, as November 8 inches closer and closer, it's becoming even harder to reckon with the disconnect between Ivanka Trump the Brand and the Trump Campaign — so much so, that customers are now taking action.
A boycott of the Ivanka Trump Collection — a $100 million business comprising clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry — is starting to gain traction on social media, with the intention of stalling sales at the brand's various stockists, The Guardian reports. Aptly titled "#GrabYourWallet," the movement, started by Silicon Valley-based brand strategist Shannon Coulter on October 11, is a direct response to the leaked tape that saw the Republican presidential nominee saying...well, you probably know. The elder Trump's words reminded her of her own experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace, and she decided to take action with her currency.
Coulter said that something about her perception of the nominee's daughter "changed for [her]" in the aftermath of that recording. "If Ivanka Trump had distanced herself from the campaign, I would not be boycotting her," she told The Guardian. She then compiled a list of the brand's stockists, which include Nordstrom, Zappos, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale's, and Amazon, among others, and encouraged people to get in touch with their customer service lines to let them know they'll be taking their business elsewhere as long as they carry Ivanka Trump products. And so far, customers are responding.
Bloomingdale's, Zappos, Lord & Taylor, and Ivanka Trump Collection declined to comment for this story; T.J. Maxx, Amazon, and Dillard's did not respond to immediate requests for comment. While Nordstrom is aware of the boycott, a representative told The Guardian the retailer has no immediate plans to pull the brand from shelves.
Trump finally commented on her father's lewd remarks on October 18, calling them "clearly inappropriate and offensive" in a statement to Fast Company. For many who can't erase the presidential candidate's offensive statements about women from their minds, though, that's not enough.
For survivors of sexual assault, seeing the Trump name printed on a label can be triggering. "It’s a visceral response, when I see the name ‘Ivanka’ nestled inside a shoe," Amy Andelora, a customer from Arizona, told Cosmopolitan. "I can’t see a Trump-related label without remembering what happened to me three years ago in a house I couldn’t escape." Other shoppers note that the Trump family brand, regardless of which member it pertains to, "ultimately, it's all the same thing," according to Lindsey Ledford, a shopper from Maryland who spoke with The Guardian. "I don't blame her for being supportive of her family," she continued. "But the way she has positioned herself with her website, the one-stop shop for women who work and female empowerment, then acting as a surrogate for the most hateful, racist, sexist campaign — you can't pick and choose like that."
At the Fortune conference, Ivanka said she thinks the word "surrogate," which has been attached to her in the national discourse about this campaign, is not accurate. Still, the contradiction between the ethos of her brand and the optics of her father's campaign were brought up during the talk. "My brand was launched far before the presidential cycle commenced and will continue long after," she explained.
Regardless of the extent of her affilliation with the campaign, she's had to reckon with the consequences even when it comes to her own shopping: Let's not forget when Lady Grey Jewelry sent Trump a note along with an ear cuff she ordered online, saying the proceeds from her purchase would go to the American Immigration Council, the Everytown for Gun Safety Organization, and the Hillary Clinton campaign. If an indie brand went viral with a single letter, we can only imagine how major it'll be if these mass retailers respond.