Remember how when Michelle Obama stepped out at the inaugural balls in Jason Wu, all the pundits were like, "Apparently she's wearing Jason Wu. And that's the most you'll ever hear me say about fashion." Well Wolf Blitzer et al are still talking about it, because they've picked up on the story WWD broke last week about the Black Artists Association being upset with Michelle Obama for not wearing clothes by black designers at the inaugural festivities. BAA co-founder Amnau Eele cited Kevan Hall, b. michael, and Stephen Burrows as designers Michelle could have worn. After Eele's comments were printed, b. michael responded with a statement:
“I personally believe it is an unfair expectation to place on the First Lady. Fashion is subjective and a matter of personal choice.
“As a designer of color, I would encourage the fashion industry, editors and media to lead the way and be more inclusive. True change in America is going to be a collective effort... As an American designer, I am excited that Mrs. Obama, in her role as the First Lady, will heighten the awareness of American style, which resonates into business and jobs in the fashion industry. I applaud Mrs. Obama for her style and her choices. Most of all for wearing what really matters: dignity and grace.”
Eele clarifies in WWD today that she was not speaking on behalf of the designers she mentioned, but simply wanted to bring the subject to light. Well, she's received death threats as a consequence. Eele told WWD:
“B. Michael has a right to issue a statement. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s an excellent designer and he deserves to be considered to dress the First Lady, whether he stands with BAA or not. We don’t represent designers, we represent painters. We spoke up for black designers because we felt it was the right thing to do.”
As b. michael noted in his statement, her sensitivity to the issue is understandable. The death threats are extreme, no doubt. However, given that her organization represents painters, we feel like she's stepping on these designers' toes. We're not sure if b. michael would say so, considering the extremely gracious nature of his statement, but would he have sent it out if she wasn't? The CFDA doesn't comment on Michelle's choice of White House decorator and then pass judgment on her.
Eele will be in town next month for a career conference she's organizing in New York for young African-American designers and students.This issue will be used to jump-start discussion.
UNITED FRONT [WWD]
Most Viewed Stories
Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee Divorcing After Five Years of Marriage
Former Bachelor Chris Soules Reportedly Arrested After Fatal Crash
Zeke Thomas Speaks Out for the First Time About Being Assaulted
I Was the Queen Bee: 3 High-School Bullies Describe Their Reigns of Terror
Serena Williams Responds to Male Tennis Player’s Racist Remark About Her Pregnancy
What It’s Like to Have Tina Fey As a Mentor
Will We Abandon Women’s Rights in the Name of Progressive Politics?
Hey, Did You Know That French Presidential Candidate Emmanuel Macron Is Married to His High-School Teacher?
A Woman Used Her Boyfriend’s Balls As a Makeup Blender
First, She Escaped a Cult. Now She’s Running for Office.
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.