Are sellers purging the brand or capitlizing on its current popularity to make a few extra bucks?
Whether Ivanka Trump's eponymous apparel and accessories label is doing “better than ever” or taking a nosedive seems like an issue that would be pretty black or white (or should we say, red or blue), but, to borrow a phrase from her father, “Wrong!”
The performance of the first daughter's brand was first brought to the nation's attention when Shannon Coulter launched the #GrabYourWallet boycott as a protest against all of the Trump family's many business ventures — from Trump suits and ties to Ivanka's patent pumps. Though they denied the influence of the boycott, department stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus dropped the line, citing poor sales. (Although just one month after Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry disappeared from shelves, the line eventually returned to Neiman Marcus' website.) Others stores like Macy's and Zappos, however, continue to add new product to its inventory, and ecommerce aggregator Lyst reported sales of the brand increased 219 percent in early February.
In a recent interview with Refinery29, Ivanka Trump CEO Abigail Klem, who took over the business in January after Trump herself abdicated the position due to conflict of interest concerns, reported that the brand has surged in the past six months. One week later, it was reported that the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry collection — the same part of Trump's empire which caught flak for hawking the $10,000 bracelet the first daughter wore during a 60 Minutes interview for her father's campaign — was being folded into the main Ivanka Trump label, which has a much more accessible price point.
Now, yet another temperature taker statistic has been released: ThredUP, a resale site which carries midtier brands like Anne Taylor Loft, Anthrpologie, J. Crew and Gap Kids, released its delightfully named “Purge Surge” report which revealed that sellers were “purging” Ivanka Trump products at an astounding rate. The label came in at No. 7 on ThredUP's list of most-purged brands, with inventory increasing 223 percent in the past year. Other “most purged” brands include Tommy Hilfiger (No. 2), Kate Hudson's Fabletics (No. 3) and Madewell (No. 8) — all labels which have been enjoying a decent spike in popularity over the past few years.
A spokesperson for ThredUP makes the case that the “purge surge” is due to one of two, diametrically opposed, reasons: Either the brand is decreasing in popularity, or demand for the brand has grown. But in Ivanka Trump's case, the cause varies by region. The label has decreased in popularity in the liberal coastal markets (New York and L.A.), meaning more sellers are discarding their pieces out of disinterest; however demand in more conservative markets (namely Dallas and Houston) has outpaced the inventory, meaning shoppers are snatching up the product anywhere they can.
While this information only stems from one resale site, the geographic break down could be telling of a larger, politically charged pattern at play, and also explain the somewhat conflicting reports that have been circulating about the future of the brand.
This isn't the first time that politics have played out in the fashion market. In 2016, a study published by The Guardian saw that conservative shoppers preferred name-brand American designers (Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren among them), while liberal-leaning shoppers were more likely to shop at modern, youthful-skewing brands like Uniqlo and Calvin Klein.
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