The Three Ways Michelle Obama Is Influencing The Fashion Industry

To say Michelle Obama’s wardrobe has attracted considerable attention would be an understatement. The world is obsessed with what Michelle wears. She always looks so put-together yet modern — and the designers whose clothes she sports get their names in the news. But are they actually seeing an increase in business? Michelle’s fashion choices seem to have one of three effects on the industry.

First, according to WWD, the First Lady has had an effect on designers, but it’s not always by increasing their sales. Since many of the clothes that Michelle wears are beyond the average American woman’s budget, designers are seeing an increase in name recognition, but they haven’t had dresses flying off racks. Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte said they have been emailed a great deal since Michelle wore one of their creations. Thakoon and Maria Cornejo said many more stores have requested appointments to see their collections and possibly pick a few items to offer their customers. Jason Wu’s recent trunk sales around the country have caused mob scenes. These higher-end designers have seen a greater response to their designs from people outside the fashion industry, which could translate to increased business down the line. Second, Michelle’s choice of more affordable fashions often causes them to sell out. Whenever she chooses to wear an item from J.Crew, Talbots, or another affordable retailer, the item sells out. However, Michelle generally doesn’t tell anyone that she is going to wear something from their store, and the company has to scramble to make more to meet the public’s huge demand. Stores would certainly prefer to know ahead of time so they could be prepared, but that isn’t likely to happen since it would make it seem as though the First Lady was in cahoots with a company.

Third, the First Lady influences what designers and retailers offer. Jenna Lyons, the creative director of J.Crew, told WWD that women look at Michelle for style inspiration, and that even if they don’t buy the exact items she wears, her choices reflect their decisions. For example, Michelle tends to stay away from super high-heels, opting for lower ones instead. Lyons said J.Crew will offer a lot more kitten heels as a result. Around The Frisky office, we’ve been wearing a lot more belts atop cardigans thanks to Mrs. O. Has Michelle Obama influenced the way you dress? [WWD]