“The Ivanka Trump brand continues to grow and remains very strong”
Following Donald Trump’s November election victory, the cultural climate grew skeptical of anything bearing the name Trump. The new politicization of the name, coupled with slow sales, led to many retail outlets’ decisions to drop Ivanka Trump’s eponymous fashion line.
But now, it appears those very Ivanka Trump products are popping up on a retailer’s shelves under a new name: Adrienne Vittadini.
To understand exactly what is or isn’t the issue at hand, we require some context on how Ivanka Trump’s arrangement worked in this instance. Like her father did before her with steaks, bottled water, vodka, and even some hotels, Ivanka didn’t own or run the business that produced her clothes. She simply licensed the use of her name to the company producing and/or wholesaling the line.
So when retailers began dropping her line of clothing, the damage to Ivanka’s bottom line was more a cheapening of her brand than it was a loss of sales or a return of inventory.
The company who had to deal with those issues is the licensor of the name, G-III. Their biggest misstep was partnering with someone who’s brand was seen as volatile and polarizing. But when Ivanka’s line was dropped, it was their operation that would take the bigger hit. To salvage the existing product and designs, G-III rebranded the clothing to something less offensive (Adrienne Vittadini) and sold it to discount retailer Stein Mart, which appears to have been aware of the relabeling effort.
This practice, though it may sound suspect, is not uncommon. Nor is it particularly objectionable from a moral standpoint. It’s unlikely that Ivanka would get any license fee or enrichment from these clothes that no longer bear her name, and while G-III did so without her knowledge, that’s more a contractual issue than it is a matter of right and wrong.
Now that the practice is exposed, and everyone’s looking a little shady in this deal, G-III issued a very repentant statement absolving Ivanka and her brand of any wrongdoing.
"G-III accepts responsibility for resolving this issue, which occurred without the knowledge or consent of the Ivanka Trump organization … G-III has already begun to take corrective actions, including facilitating the immediate removal of any mistakenly labelled merchandise from its customer. The Ivanka Trump brand continues to grow and remains very strong.”
That last part’s a nice touch, isn’t it? It comes across as a line a political prisoner would be fed to read on camera.
As stated above, this is a frequent practice to circumvent brands’ unwillingness to be associated with deep-discount stores. It wasn’t anything sinister on Ivanka’s part to make a buck. But because this happening to someone named Trump, the stakes are a bit higher and emotions seethe, as demonstrated here:
Depending on how deep your distaste for Trump’s daughter runs, you may still want to avoid the Adrienne Vittadini line, as they’re clothes that Trump’s company no doubt sanctioned or designed. Though the Trump name may not be on that Vittadini blazer, it still bears the Trump seal of approval.