Michelle Obama Under Fire for Not Wearing Black Designers

The Black Artists Association is upset with our new First Lady for not wearing clothes by African-American designers. BAA Cofounder Amnau Eele, who was a runway model for Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, and Bill Blass, told WWD, “It’s fine and good if you want to be all ‘Kumbaya’ and ‘We Are the World’ by representing all different countries. But if you are going to have Isabel Toledo do the inauguration dress, and Jason Wu do the evening gown, why not have Kevan Hall, B Michael, Stephen Burrows or any of the other black designers do something too?” Eele plans to make a formal appeal to Michelle's office. WWD adds:

Asked if perhaps the First Lady isn’t looking at the world colorlessly, Eele said, “It’s one thing to look at the world without color but she had seven slots to wear designer clothes. Why wasn’t she wearing the clothes of a black designer? That was our moment.”

The striking thing about Michelle Obama's fashion sense is not that she chooses to wear pieces by an Asian American (Jason Wu) and a Cuban American (Isabel Toledo) in the same day, but that her choice of lesser-known labels demonstrates her sophisticated taste. Few outside of the fashion industry knew who Wu or Toledo were before Tuesday, but now the whole world knows. We think it's amazing that Michelle is giving these designers exposure they would never otherwise have, whether that's a factor in her decision-making process or not. Besides, by sticking to American designers she supports the industry — severely flagging in the economic downturn — as a whole. The designers she wears make clothes that suit her and look good on her. It seems unfair to put her under any more pressure.


Read more posts by Amy Odell

Filed Under: bill blass, black artists association, giorgio armani, isabel toledo, jason wu, michelle obama, MObama watch, yves saint laurent

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