The politics of a blouse are fraught when it has an Ivanka Trump label sewn into it.
Public views of the first daughter’s fashion label break along political lines, according to new consumer perception data from research firm YouGov BrandIndex. Liberal consumers view the brand much more negatively than both conservatives and moderates, according to the survey.
“Clearly in the bubbles of the West Coast and East Coast, her brand will have less appeal,” said Allen Adamson, the New-York based founder of consulting company BrandSimple and former North American chairman of branding firm Landor Associates.
While conservative shoppers surveyed by YouGov have a slightly positive impression of the Ivanka Trump brand, at its peak over the past month the brand scored only 19.4 points on the index. Scores can range from -100 to 100, with zero representing a neutral position. Moderate consumers have slightly negative perceptions of the brand, while feedback from liberal consumers was clearly negative, dropping to as much as -57.4. YouGov interviews 4,800 people each weekday from a representative online panel of more than 1.8 million individuals.
Has a simple pair of pumps ever been so imbued with partisan venom? Not likely.
It’s a bit more complicated when split down gender lines. Men have a more positive perception of her than women as of late May, though each gender’s view of Ivanka Trump’s label has fluctuated heavily in recent weeks. She saw a spike in positive perception among women around the time she released her new book,Women Who Work, which provides career advice. In a nod to intense scrutiny of conflict-of-interest issues surrounding her family, she didn’t embark on a typical media tour, losing an opportunity to boost her profile and her brand. Since then, the bump her label received from women as the book was released seems to have faded.
A representative of Ivanka Trump declined to immediately comment.
Trump, 35, now an official, unpaid government employee, announced in January that she was handing day-to-day management of her brand to top lieutenant Abigail Klem. The closely held company licenses her name to vendors that make goods, including a $100 million clothing line made by G-III Apparel Group, as well as shoes and accessories. She has transferred its assets to a new trust overseen by relatives of her husband, Jared Kushner, retaining ownership of the company and receiving payouts. She doesn’t plan to divest from her brand, said Jamie Gorelick, her attorney at law firm WilmerHale.
The politicization of Ivanka Trump’s brand has been under way for some time. When her products started vanishing from stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and ShopStyle following last year’s election, anti-Trump activists launched a national campaign to boycott any retailer who sold Trump family products. Some supporters sought to push back, calling for boycotts of anyone who stopped selling Trump products.
Ivanka’s brand has always been intertwined with her father’s, and that’s even truer now as she frequently appears with him at official White House events and takes on many of the traditional duties of a first lady. As a result, any chance of daylight between her label and his record-low approval ratings is that much more unlikely, said Adamason, the consultant.
“It’s increasingly more difficult every time she’s in the Oval Office,” Adamson said. “If she was a typical family member of a politician, there’s a possibility to create one or two degrees of separation—like the Bush daughters, for instance.”
This is especially the case when it came to stores dropping her brand. In February, Nordstrom confirmed it would stop selling the first daughter’s line, citing poor sales. It quickly found itself in President Donald Trump’s bad books, though no retailers have said they dumped Ivanka over her family’s politics.
Donald Trump responded in a tweet that his daughter was being treated “so unfairly.” Kellyanne Conway, another top White House official, then defended Ivanka in a television appearance, delivering what she called “a free commercial” and triggering yet another conflict of interest firestorm, since Conway’s actions ran counter to a ban on executive branch employees endorsing products.