Another day, another questionable development involving Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. Or, in this case, lack thereof.
The move undoubtedly raises eyebrows about the motives of G-III, Trump’s licensing company. Brands like Ivanka Trump oftentimes don’t like to be associated with lower-tier retailers like Stein Mart, so both BoF and The Cut questioned whether the move was made to disassociate Trump’s name from the retailer. But Trump’s designs sell at other off-price stores like T.J. Maxx, so that doesn’t totally add up.
Trump’s brand saw an increase in sales in 2016 and a huge spike following the controversial “free commercial” Kellyanne Conway gave the brand on television in February 2017, when she encouraged Americans to buy Ivanka Trump’s brand.
But another theory could be that unlike higher-end stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, which dropped the brand altogether, the move was a way for Stein Mart to distance itself from the brand without having to actually distance itself from its clothing.
In a statement sent to The Huffington Post, G-III revealed that it worked on its own accord to change the labels ― a move that is weird, but technically legal, and, according to BoF, “commonplace”” for some brands.
“G-IIII accepts responsibility for resolving this issue, which occurred without the knowledge or consent of the Ivanka Trump organization,” the statement said. “G-III has already begun to take corrective actions, including facilitating the immediate removal of any mistakenly labeled merchandise from its customer. The Ivanka Trump brand continues to grow and remains very strong.”
A request for comment from both Authentic Brands Group (which licenses Adrienne Vittadini) and Stein Mart were not immediately returned. But as Susan Scafidi, professor of fashion law at Fordham Law School and founder of the Fashion Law Institute, pointed out to BoF, if Adrienne Vittadini was not aware of the label swapping, there could be a bigger issue at hand.
“If the original label is replaced with that of a third party unaware of the substitution, the responsible party would be liable to the third party,” she said.
It might be time to check the labels on your most recent Stein Mart purchases, people.