Pret-a-Reporter

Fashion Business Leaders Slow to Speak Out on Immigration Ban

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Though support for the Women's March was clear, fashion's biggest brands have stayed silent on Trump's executive order.

Though our Instagram feeds were littered with posts from major fashion brands — Public School, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney, to name a few — in support of January's Women's Marches, when it comes to President Donald Trump's controversial immigration stance, many of those same brands are keeping quiet. 

On Friday, Trump issued an executive order barring immigrants and travelers from seven predominately Muslim countries, sparking protests from coast to coast. Celebrities took to social media to decry the ban, and addressed it at Sunday night's SAG Awards, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus calling it "a blemish and un-American."

Silicon Valley tech leaders also have decried the executive order, including Google's Sergey Brin, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky. And consumers on both sides of the immigration issue have expressed their opinions on the politics of their favorite brands by voting with their dollars, and sharing hashtags such as #BoycottStarbucks and #DeleteUber. 

But fashion brands have been slow to join the chorus.

There have been a few exceptions. Nike's CEO and president Mark Parker released a statement condemning the ban yesterday, and Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault indirectly challenged Trump's order in a statement on Twitter early Tuesday. 

"At a time when diversity is at stake," he wrote via Kering's Twitter account, likely referencing Trump's executive order, which the president declared on Sunday, "I want to reaffirm how crucial this value is to me and to Kering. Diversity of origin, opinion and belief is part of our identity and our success."

It is interesting to note that Pinault's statement was published just hours after a Business of Fashion article titled, "Fashion Industry Remains Silent at Trump's Immigration Ban." 

Paris-based Kering is the parent company of Gucci, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and Puma, among other brands — all of  which have been working toward increasing diversity in their consumer-facing visuals, including their advertising campaigns (Gucci recently teased a pre-fall campaign with all black models) and runway shows, as well as their creative divisions. Most recently, Pinault has been championing Kering's commitment to sustainability.

Meanwhile, Bernard Arnault, CEO of one of Kering's biggest competitors, LVMH, met with Trump on Jan. 9 and subsequently told the press that he was optimistic about his presidency given his plans for deregulation and lowering taxes. He, like the heads of many of fashion's other big companies, has not yet addressed the immigration ban. No comments yet from the heads of Ralph Lauren, Carolina Herrera or Oscar de la Renta, all three brands that have notably dressed the new first family.

While fashion's business leaders stay mum, some other industry influencers — including supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid, chairman of British Fashion Council Natalie Massenet, CFDA president Steven Kolb — all have spoken out on social media against Trump's executive order.

A handful of designers, including Dao-Yi Chow and Prabal Gurung, who hails from Nepal, also have made personal statements on their social media channels with regard to the ban; however, they are written in first person rather than from the voice of their respective brands. 

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