Do you ever think about your childhood? I sometimes do. Do you remember, for example, that time your parents defended you when that kid at the park unintentionally pushed you and you fell, messing up your new shirt? And what about that other time they came to your rescue talking to your school teacher when you pretended your granny had died for the tenth time to avoid the Math test? Actually, I don't. But I guess it's because I grew up in an extremely normal family with ordinary parents who probably tended to blame rather than defend me, thinking there was always a lesson to be learnt in all sorts of experiences. But that was me and my very ordinary upbringing. I never realised things were very different in the realm of the rich and the powerful where, apparently, parents defend and protect you even when you're a grown up.
Take poor defenceless Ivanka, daughter of US President Donald Trump. At the beginning of February department store Nordstrom announced it was dropping the Ivanka Trump fashion brand for the Autumn season. The American chain of luxury department stores actually supported the launch of the brand, that first started with footwear and accessories and then moved onto garments (Ivanka originally entered the world of fashion with a jewelry line in 2007).
The company denied the decision was affected by political factors and a spokeswoman explained it was based on brand performance. According to Nordstrom, sales of Ivanka Trump designs had "steadily declined" in 2016 (as they look rather bland, perfect examples of "copy and paste" fashion, the decline shouldn't surprise anybody...) and Ivanka had already been informed of the decision in early January.
It isn't rare for department stores to drop a brand for such reasons (Nordstrom do not struck us as left-wing radicals...): buyers working for such companies aren't indeed evil monsters, but they do have to follow the trends and offer consumers interesting and desirable products on a constant basis if they want to win their loyalty and money.
Usually, when a label gets dropped, most designers tend to sit down with their creative staff and their financial advisors to try and understand where things went wrong.
In this case things took instead a political turn when it was revealed that Nordstrom's co-presidents, brothers Pete, Erik and Blake, had sent an email to the workforce at the end of January to highlight their family's immigrant background, remind everybody that their employees are first- and second-generation immigrants and state the company was trying to find out how many of their employees would be affected by the travel ban and offer support to them. A spokeswoman reassured, though, that the pro-immigration email and the business decision were not connected.
In a way the two things couldn't be connected also because the Ivanka Trump fashion line, is not part of Donald Trump's company. Besides, after her father's inauguration, Ivanka took a leave of absence from her company and from her executive role at the Trump Organization to avoid potential conflicts of interest also after her husband Jared Kushner was sworn in as a senior adviser to his father-in-law.
Yet President Trump did not share the same views and expressed his disappointment with Nordstrom on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday morning reminding the world that his daughter "has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!"
The message was then retweeted by @POTUS, the official Twitter account for the US President, that has so far been reserved for government issues.
The inappropriate tweet (Democratic senator Bob Casey stated Donald Trump should be referred to the US Office of Government Ethics for this message...) that proved Trump can not separate himself from his own/his family's businesses took another unfashionable turn during a White House daily press briefing yesterday afternoon. Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a man who defies all sorts of teachings you will ever receive at a journalism course, defended Trump's tweet, and accused Nordstrom of "targeting" Ivanka Trump.
Spicer stated: "There's clearly a targeting of her brand (…) while she’s not directly running the company, it's still her name on it and there's clearly efforts to undermine that name based on her father's positions on particular policies he's taken. This is a direct attack on his policies and her name and so there's clearly an attempt for him to stand up for her because she's being maligned because they have a problem with his policies." About Trump's reaction he added: "He has every right to stand up for his family and applaud their business activities, their success (...) For someone to take out their concern with his policies on a family member of his is not acceptable and the president has every right as a father to stand up for them."
Unfortunately, there may be more Tweets soon as Belk has also dropped the Ivanka Trump label and her jewelry is no longer on sale on Neiman Marcus' site. But other companies may go down the same path: a while back anti-Trump activist group Grab Your Wallet launched indeed an online campaign to boycott Trump products and companies carrying them and consumers are definitely listening. Nordstrom in the meantime ended Wednesday's trading session up more than 4%. And while the revolution is unlikely to start in a department store, consumer power may start having a bigger impact on politics from now on.
That said, for the time being the Nordstrom diatribe is a weapon of mass distraction from Trump's side: there are indeed more serious things to face all over the world - among the others, the migrant crisis, military raids in Yemen, global poverty and climate change (just to mention a few ones...). In a nutshell, it's time for Mr President to use his time for other and more important issues and maybe remember that, sometimes, letting your children cry and sort out things by themselves is the best way to make them stronger.