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Campaign Trail

Fashion designers fundraise for Obama

Jeff Tyler Jan 12, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Top fashion designers are launching a campaign today called Runway to Win. They’re donating custom T-shirts and other items to raise money for President Obama’s re-election.

But as Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports, picking political sides isn’t something every company is comfortable doing.

Jeff Tyler: Designer Marc Jacobs contributed to the fashion campaign, but the multinational that owns his namesake company did not. Luxury behemoth LVMH doesn’t want to alienate customers by picking political sides in an election year.

Adam Hanft: LVMH wants to be friends of whoever wins and they want their luxury goods and all of that to be part of any White House.

Adam Hanft helps companies develop their brands. He says many of the designers involved have dressed First Lady Michelle Obama.

Hanft: It looks very opportunistic and I don’t think it’s particularly good for their individual brand names.

Designer Prabal Gurung says his support has nothing to do with cozying up to President Obama.

Prabal Gurung: The real American Dream that everyone talks about happened to me. And, you know, as an immigrant to this country, I’m inspired by his story.

Gurung points out that some of his best customers are Republicans. But he doesn’t worry about alienating them.

Gurung: God forbid they are the kind of people who are going to stop buying my clothes based on something I believe in.

The campaign could generate more business from Democrats. On the Obama campaign website, one woman posted that she loves supporting the president by purchasing new clothes.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

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