The real reason Ivanka Trump is shutting down her fashion company

Fans of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line were shocked when the First Daughter announced on July 24, 2018 that her eponymous fashion brand would be shutting down for good. The clothing line, which was first announced in September 2011, provided relatively affordable professional-wear options for women. “I wanted to build a strong and sustainable collection that is not overly trend-conscious,” Trump told InStyle upon announcing her fashion line’s launch. “I wanted the price points to be accessible,” the heiress and businesswoman added, citing the brand’s price point of $200 and under. 

However, as fans who have been paying close attention to the fashion line’s ups and downs know, it wouldn’t be long until Trump’s brand experienced a major downfall. From reportedly stolen shoe designs, to shocking working conditions in Indonesian factories, to flammable scarves, to Ivanka Trump’s role within her father’s presidency — here’s the inside scoop on why the once-popular fashion line is no longer. 

A big announcement

Ivanka Trump’s clothing line officially announced its closure in July 2018, but the start of its slow decline began much earlier. In fact, the beginning of the fashion brand’s downfall may have commenced in June 2015 — when Donald J. Trump officially announced his bid for the presidency of the United States. 

Ivanka Trump, for her part, has long been portrayed in the media as being incredibly close to her billionaire father — her siblings even admitted in an interview with Barbara Walters (via Bravo) that Ivanka is their father’s favorite child. During a 2015 sit-down interview with Fortune, the eldest Trump daughter was asked if she was happy her father was running for president. Trump’s response? “Well, that’s a complicated question.” Whether or not Trump thought her father would actually go on to win the election and become President of the United States, there’s no question the future First Daughter realized the amount of scrutiny a Donald Trump presidency would mean for her, her family, and her business. 

This girl is on fire — and not in a good way

These days, it’s not uncommon to hear a person refer to something as being “on fire” as the highest form of flattery. However, if anyone ever tells you that your Ivanka Trump brand scarf is on fire — well, you might want to look for the nearest fire extinguisher or stop, drop, and roll. 

In April 2016, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that the Global Brands Group was recalling “about 20,000” Ivanka Trump brand women’s scarves due to the scarves not meeting “the federal flammability standards for clothing textiles, causing a burn risk.” The scarves in question were the blue and coral Beach Wave scarf, and the blue, green, and red Brushstroke Oblong scarf — go ahead, we’ll wait while you check your closet for any potential burn risks. 

The scarves, like the rest of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, were manufactured in China — a fact that was almost certainly a sore spot for the First Daughter, considering her father’s staunch stance on American-made products. 

Footwear fiasco

As if flammable neckwear wasn’t enough of a controversy for Ivanka Trump, the future First Daughter found herself ankle-deep in hot water in June 2016 when she was sued for allegedly copying the design of some luxury sandals. 

As reported by Vanity Fair, the mega-popular Italian footwear designer Aquazzura filed an official complaint in Manhattan federal court in June 2016 accusing Ivanka Trump and her clothing line’s manufacturer, Marc Fisher, of “knocking off” the design of one of Aquazzura’s best-selling, most popular sandals. The most noticeable difference in the sandals was the price tag — Aquazzura’s sandals were listed for $785; Trump’s retailed for $145.

The official complaint reads, “Defendants have copied nearly every detail of Plaintiff’s well-known and coveted Wild Thing Shoe, from the shape and silhouette to the fringe covering the toes, to the tassel on the heel.” Fisher’s camp rebuked the claim, calling it “baseless,” and Aquazzura dropped the lawsuit in 2017. Still, the legal drama wasn’t a good look for Trump’s brand. 

Business boycott and campaign fallout

There’s no doubt that social media plays quite a large role in our lives, both in our personal lives as well as our lives as consumers. And in the case of Ivanka Trump and her fashion line’s decline, it would appear that social media had a hand in the downfall of her company. 

On October 11, 2016, in response to an Access Hollywood tape featuring then-presidential candidate Donald Trump recounting to host Billy Bush how he’d grab women by their vaginas, activists Shannon Coulter and Sue Atencio launched the #GrabYourWallet campaign on social media. Aimed directly at Trump-owned businesses, the #GrabYourWallet campaign targeted Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, as well as the stores that sold it, urging consumers to no longer buy from stores who sell Trump-related products. Among the list of stores were giant retailers Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, the former of which confirmed in February 2017 it was no longer carrying Ivanka Trump’s fashion line “due to the brand’s performance.” Of course, Nordstrom’s swift decision made many wonder if their decision was actually due to the backlash caused by Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood tape. 

Maternity leave mess

Ivanka Trump isn’t just a businesswoman, she’s a mother to three children with husband Jared Kushner — Arabella Rose Kushner, Joseph Frederick Kushner, and Theodore James Kushner. As Trump is certainly an incredibly busy woman tasked with balancing both motherhood and work, one would think she’d be an advocate for a mother’s rights in regards to the workplace — most notably, maternity leave. But according to the former Creative Director of Ivanka Trump’s company, that wasn’t exactly her experience with Trump heiress. 

On October 10, 2016, Marissa Velez Kraxberger took to Facebook to air her grievances regarding Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled maternity leave policy, reportedly crafted, in part, by Ivanka Trump. “When I first interviewed with Ivanka I was 2 months pregnant […] when I asked about maternity leave she said she would have to think about it. [She said] that at Trump, they don’t offer maternity leave and that she went back to work just a week after having her first child.”

Though Kraxberger went on to explain she was finally granted eight weeks of maternity leave after fighting long and hard for such, her story caused many to see Trump in a new, hypocritical light. 

Made in Indonesia

In Women Who Work, published in May 2017, Ivanka Trump writes, “The potential to improve the lives of countless women and girls has caused me to fundamentally consider where my work will do the greatest good.” However, as The Guardian revealed in an exclusive report about the working conditions at Indonesian factories that manufactured the Ivanka Trump brand’s clothes, it appears the First Daughter wasn’t considering the lives of the Indonesian factory workers when she wrote her book.  

According to The Guardian , the Indonesian factory workers complained of incredibly low wages (the lowest minimum wage in Indonesia), no severance pay, and long working hours which made it difficult for some parents to see their children more than once a month. However, full-time female employees are offered a bonus — if they forego taking a day off for menstruation each month (menstruation is a bit of a taboo subject in Indonesia — some businesses even prohibit women from entering if they’re menstruating). 

Stepping into a new role

When Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016, one of the first questions on the minds of many was exactly what Ivanka Trump’s role would be within her father’s presidency. By all means, it seemed the eldest Trump daughter already had her hands quite full with her three children and fashion line — not to mention the fact that many were concerned about the ethics surrounding Ivanka Trump’s rumored role in the White House. 

Trump set the rumors straight in March 2017, announcing she would be taking on the role of adviser to the President — however, her new role would be unpaid. “I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the President in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees,” Trump stated. Though she made no mention of her fashion line, many wondered how the First Daughter and presidential adviser would juggle her various hats.

The future is unknown

It appears being both a fashion designer and presidential adviser was taking a toll on Ivanka Trump — who admitted in a 2015 interview with Fortune that she averages five hours of sleep per night. 

In her official statement about her decision to shutter her namesake fashion line (via The New York Times), Trump said, “After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”

Though existing products from the Ivanka Trump brand will continue to be sold, a spokesperson for the company (via The New York Times) stated that no new products would be manufactured. And while many factors lead to the decision to shut down the company for good, it seems the businesses of politics and fashion simply don’t jive — at least, not in Trump’s world. 

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