With the 2012 Presidential election cycle now in full swing, a sizeable contingent of fashion designers is working to sew up a victory for Barack Obama, under a new campaign initiative dubbed Runway to Win.
As part of the push, the Obama-Biden campaign has partnered with 22 designers to create merchandise that will raise funds for the President’s reelection efforts, WWD has learned.
The initiative will officially bow Thursday, when an e-commerce site at runwaytowin.com will launch to sell products from participating designers, who include Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Rag & Bone, Rachel Roy and Tracy Reese. The designs include T-shirts, tote bags, scarves and wristlets, with all proceeds going to the Obama Victory Fund.
Vogue magazine was instrumental in assembling the Runway to Win designers, said sources. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour has been a highly public supporter of Obama and the Democratic Party, having co-hosted a string of fund-raisers for the President and the party in recent years.
Wintour and actress Scarlett Johansson will co-host another fund-raising event in February, centered around Runway to Win, which is expected to draw the participating designers and a number of celebrities. That benefit in New York is currently being planned and organized by Sylvana Ward Durrett, director of special events at Vogue. A Vogue spokeswoman said Wintour was unavailable for comment about the initiative by press time.
Runway to Win is modeled on a 2008 fashion initiative by the Obama campaign, which was called Runway to Change. Designers involved in that first election effort included Donna Karan, Narciso Rodriguez, Rachel Roy, Alexander Wang, von Furstenberg, Derek Lam, Isaac Mizrahi, Zac Posen and House of Deréon, the collection done by Beyoncé and Tina Knowles.
The Obama campaign declined to comment on the record on Runway to Win, apart from a small teaser posted on its official blog on Friday, which invited supporters to sign up to receive additional information via e-mail.
This year, some fashion executives were wary of publicly siding with Obama’s reelection campaign due to the risk of alienating their brands from Republican voters. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton executives initially vetoed brands in their luxury stable from participating in Runway to Win, said sources. However, Marc Jacobs, which is majority owned by LVMH, went ahead with its T-shirt design for the project, following pressure from Vogue, said sources.
Donna Karan, which is also owned by LVMH, is not participating in Runway to Win, despite having participated in 2008’s Runway to Change initiative and Karan’s well-known support for Obama and the Democratic Party.
During the 2008 Presidential election, the fashion industry tilted heavily towards Obama and the Democrats in terms of campaign contributions, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics. The nonpartisan group found that executives and employees from a cross-section of large apparel brands and retail companies contributed almost twice as much money to Obama as to the Republican Presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain.
Wintour has been a driving force in organizing Seventh Avenue’s support for Obama and the Democrats. She is among an elite group of bundlers who have raised in excess of $500,000 for Obama’s 2012 campaign.
Last August, Wintour and Harvey Weinstein co-hosted a fund-raiser at the movie mogul’s West Village home, charging $35,800 a person. The event benefited the Obama Victory Fund and the Democratic National Committee. Attendees included Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Alicia Keys, Vera Wang and Burch.
In July 2010, Wintour hosted Obama at her Sullivan Street townhouse for a dinner benefiting the Democratic National Committee. Attendees paid up to $30,400, including Karan, Burch, von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, Georgina Chapman, Andrew Rosen and André Balazs.
In June 2008, during the previous campaign, Wintour and Klein co-hosted another fund-raiser for Obama at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. gallery in Chelsea. That event was attended by Michelle Obama and a slew of fashion designers, which was followed by a more intimate dinner at Klein’s home.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)