Obama Markets Celeb-Designed Fashions for 2012 Campaign

Jan 10, 2012 7:19pm

President Obama’s re-election campaign is about to get a strong dose of fashion sense – something manager Jim Messina says he really needs.

Twenty-three top American designers on Thursday will unveil an new line of “Obama-inspired” apparel and accessories that campaign aides said will be marketed and sold to fashion-conscious Democratic supporters.

The collection of trendy t-shirts, tote bags and scarves – dubbed “Runway to Win” – will feature pieces designed by Tory Burch, Tracy Reese and Jason Wu, according to an announcement on the campaign’s website. All are favorites of First Lady Michelle Obama.

(Mrs. Obama has been spotted wearing Burch’s Connell boots while picking pumpkins in the White House garden, wearing a Reese sweater on a shopping trip to Walgreens, and donning a Wu-designed gown for her husband’s inaugural ball. More on her styles HERE.)

The Obama campaign launched a similar collection in 2008 to raise campaign cash – then called “Runway to Change” – that included a t-shirt designed by Beyonce and Tina Knowles and a tote bag by Marc Jacobs.

It’s unclear how popular the effort was or how much it raised, but some fashionistas indicated at the time that they were somewhat underwhelmed.

“I was disappointed to say the least,” Shannon Nelson, an Obama supporter who attended the 2008 fashion event, wrote on her public relations blog. “Fashion Week and ‘Runway’ to Change seemed to be like a perfect fit and I was hoping to see collaborations from top designers not t-shirts and totes.” (Still, Nelson gave $250 to Obama in 2008, according to Federal Election Commission records.)

Obama campaign spokeswoman Marti Adams would not comment on the price range of the latest batch of items or how much money sales are expected to generate in 2012.

She did, however, confirm that a runway is not actually involved in any part of the marketing blitz.  “No contest or fashion show,” she said in an email.

The new line of Obama fashions — which Team Obama touts as “proudly made in America“ – may already be a success, if only for inspiring the man leading the president’s campaign.

“I have NO fashion sense,” Messina tweeted Monday, “But our new Runway 2 Win by the best designers is cool.”

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