President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign has been supported by a laundry list of fashionable celebrities: Beyonce, Katy Perry, Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Sharon Stone, Julianne Moore, Demi Moore, Zooey Deschanel, Elvis Presley's granddaughter Riley Keough, and even Girls creator Lena Dunham.
And of course, everyone knows about Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s fundraising of over $500,000 for Obama’s reelection. Wintour's ongoing support even gave presidential GOP candidate Mitt Romney cause to gripe: “The president hasn’t lived up to his promise on jobs, and no amount of Vogue fundraisers will fix it.”
But more interesting than Obama's celebrity endorsements are the financial contributions his campaign has received from the fashion designers who dress his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.
That list of her favored designers includes Tory Burch, Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, Derek Lamb, Tracy Reese, Narcizo Rodriguez, Rachel Roy, Alexander Wang, Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Prabul Gurung, Donna Karen, and Diane Von Furstenberg.
It marks the first time a presidential contender has received this kind of widespread support and monetary assistance from the fashion world. In fact, a look at every American designer label Michelle Obama has worn since 2008, according to Mrs-O.com, a fashion blog that tracks the first lady’s clothing, shows all of her favored designers have donated to the president.
The Washington Post reports that outside of jewelry designers and mass-market retailers, nearly 50 percent of American designers worn by Michelle Obama donated to her husband’s 2008 or 2012 campaigns. In early June 2008, only a few of these designers had donated. The number of designers donating by June 2012 tripled.
The Post also reported in June that none of the designers worn by the FLOTUS donated to Republican candidates in 2008 or 2012.
But the Center for Responsive Politics website -- Open Secrets -- shows that Vera Wang has contributed $5,250 to Obama and $2,500 to Romney with $61,600 given through PACS, parties and outsdie spending groups. Open Secrets has Tory Burch giving soley to Obama ($7,500) as well as $61,600 to Super PACs, parties and outside spending groups.
It looks like Michael Kors has also hedged his bets. According to Open Secrets, he donated $15,000 to Obama and $10,500 to Romney, and $166,852 to outside groups.
It's not surprising that an industry largely populated by women and gay men would support the party in favor of women’s right to choose, planned parenthood and same sex marriage.
But a cynical observer might wonder if these American designers are also secretly hoping to keep their best -- and most globally visible -- brand ambassador in the White House limelight for another four years.