If the fashion industry once questioned whether or not they'd pay attention to Melania Trump's style — and some designers went out of their way to denounce the First Lady by vowing never to dress her — that hesitation was quelled with a cheap, green jacket. On a recent trip to an immigrant detention centre for children in Texas, she wore a $39 (£30) military style parka from Zara that read "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?" on the back in a white paint design. It was a departure from her typical wardrobe of luxury, designer duds, with little thought to the repercussions its befuddling apathetic message might cause. Now, it's being resold for hundreds of dollars.
The Washington Post found several pre-owned versions of the jacket being auctioned on eBay for $895 (£680) and $425 (£323), with just a few days left to buy them. Another user sold the item for $500 (£380) just a few days ago. Just why the jacket has struck a chord with customers is subjective, but on the popular resell site Poshmark, where another was up for sale, a user admitted to wanting to buy the jacket "not as a political statement, but as a Halloween costume." On the luxury side, contemporary label R13 sent out a press release following the much talked-about stunt with their version of the fall outerwear piece, claiming that Zara took inspiration from their fishtail coat that originally read "GOD SAVE AMERICA" in similar graffiti style on the back.
Though FLOTUS' camp claimed the item had no subtext or context at all — her spokesperson tweeted "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope this isn't what the media is going to choose to focus on" — it was President Donald Trump who, as usual, stirred the pot with a contrasting response on her behalf. "'I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?' written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!" he wrote. At the time of publishing, Zara has not returned Refinery29's request for comment.
Between the fashion industry's previous co-opting of the Make America Great Again hats from Trump's 2016 campaign and the reselling of an old Zara style that Melania Trump wore, it's clear that curiosity around White House fashion is not dead. The real problem, however, isn't so much that people are spending so much money on a jacket that doesn't really mean anything on anyone else but her. It's that we're still spending so much time talking about it. Rest assured it will resurface come 31st October.