Just as with the polling numbers for the election itself, it’s difficult to tell what’s what with Ivanka Trump’s line of clothing. Is it benefiting from all the exposure, including that afforded the #GrabYourWallet boycott campaign started a few weeks ago after the videotape of her father’s salacious brags to Billy Bush surfaced, or is it taking a hit?
“The boycott was started on October 11 by Sue Atencio, a 59-year-old grandmother, and marketing specialist Shannon Coulter, who said they were shocked by Trump’s recently unearthed interview with ‘Access Hollywood’ in which the then-reality TV host bragged about his sexual conquests of women and his ability as a celebrity to ‘grab them by the p–sy,’” Itay Hod writes for The Wrap.
The New Yorker’s Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote an insightful look at Ivanka fighting to “save the brand” the following week.
“She embraced the family philosophy of turning everything into an opportunity for personal enrichment; the morning after she introduced her father at the Republican National Convention, she broadcast on Twitter an image of herself wearing one of her fashion label’s dresses on the stage with the exhortation: ‘Shop Ivanka’s look from her #RNC speech,’” Kolhatkar wrote.
The pushback against Ivanka’s line “gained steam last week when a woman describing herself as a lifelong Nordstrom customer posted an open letter to the department store demanding that it stop selling items from Trump's $100 million clothing and accessories line,” Hayley Peterson reports for Business Insider.
“The hate speech directed at African Americans, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, LGBT people, and women by the Trump campaign is unacceptable and does not seem to represent Nordstrom's values,” she wrote, according to a copy of the letter that she posted on Twitter. “Yet Ms. Trump continues to defend it, and Nordstrom continues to defend her.”
“The letter's author, whose Twitter handle is @shewhovotes, asked her followers to share the letter if they agree. She tagged the tweet with the hashtag #GrabYourWallet, which has become a rallying cry on social media to boycott Trump's brand.”
The hed on The Wrap’s story tells us “Ivanka Trump’s Brand Takes Beating as Consumer Boycott Gains Momentum.” Hod opens the story with an anecdote about a student who was about to buy a T-shirt in a TJ Maxx in Maryland before recoiling when she realized it was part of Ivanka’s collection.
She is “one of tens of thousands of consumers who have joined the #GrabYourWallet campaign,” Hod reports. And as of Monday, it “has garnered nearly 119 million impressions on Twitter, according to Retweet Rank. That number includes retweets from high-profile celebrities like Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen, writer Joyce Carol Oates, Valerie Bertinelli, Lucy Lawless and Oscar nominee Don Cheadle.”
While acknowledging that the recent numbers show the boycott might be working, “new data from ShopRunner suggests that consumer ‘interest’ in the Ivanka Trump brand has risen considerably since the beginning of July,” Anjali Mullany writes for Fast Company on a story posted Sunday. “During one week in October, searches for Ivanka's products were up as high as 338% over April 2016.”
Mullany also reports that Trump’s staff claimed Web site traffic was up 50% over last year when she was reporting for a piece published Oct. 17. There could be a push-pull effect in play here. Pace University marketing professor Larry Chiagouris told her that “the boycott might encourage more pro-Trumpers to buy her products, even as consumers on the left avoid them.”
Avoiding in droves, apparently — at least in the Philly burbs.
“There is nothing not to like about Ivanka Trump's working-woman-appropriate collection of leather-trimmed sheaths and winter-floral T-shirt frocks. Last week at the Bala Cynwyd Lord & Taylor store, a cold-shoulder blouse whispered, ‘Elizabeth, take me home, girl,’” recallsPhiladelphia Inquirer fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington.
“But instead of teeming with women looking to buy the generous assortment of Trump’s ponchos, blouses, and cashmere sweaters, the sections where the brand is carried at L&T in Bala and King of Prussia Mall and at two Main Line T.J. Maxxes — at least the two days that I was there last week — were pretty much empty.”
But in the end, Elissa Bloom, executive director of a Philadelphia fashion incubator that specializes in building brands, tells Wellington that Ivanka’s brand can prevail.
“Time is the best healer,” says Bloom. “I mean, bad things happen in fashion all of the time. Look at Martha Stewart, look at Steve Madden,” referring to their convictions. “People move on.”
Indeed, “moving on” is just about the only thing that gets people agreeing with each other nowadays, with 81% of adults polled by YouGov Oct. 23-24 saying they wished the election were over.