16 American Designers Reflect On Michelle Obama’s Incredible Fashion Legacy

This story was originally published in December 2016.
The First Lady of the United States unfailingly receives a lot of attention for her fashion choices. And in her tenure, Michelle Obama has been no exception, but throughout her eight years as FLOTUS, the conversation (and the praise) surrounding what she wore had a different tune to it. Yes, she always looked marvelous, glamorous, and sophisticated. But Michelle Obama's fashion moments were often relatable, thanks to her penchant for sensible basics from J.Crew, and always deeply entrenched with meaning, due to FLOTUS' ongoing commitment to elevating young, homegrown talent.
The story hardly ever ended in "The First Lady wore [insert designer name here]": Through her work with influential Chicago boutique owner Ikram Goldman and stylist Meredith Koop, Obama started careers, propelled trends, and supported the fashion industry with every look. It's almost a bonus that she looked so stunning in the process.
As the Obama administration draws to a close, there's a lot of reminiscing to be done, especially about the First Lady — about the work she's accomplished, the example she set for women across the country, the pop-culture savviness with which she approached her role. The myriad American designers who have dressed Michelle Obama over the past eight years are well acquainted with the impact of dressing the current First Lady, and the fashion legacy she's leaving behind. We spoke to 16 of these talents who helped shape the public image of FLOTUS (in turn, she gave them her respect and vote of confidence — and an unmatched bragging right). Ahead, learn how they'll remember Michelle Obama.

More from Designers

R29 Original Series