Runway to Win Announces Swanky List of Fashion Folks Backing Obama

Runway to Win Announces Swanky List of Fashion Folks Backing Obama
"The Obama Dress" by Jean Charles de Castelbajac
(Courtesy Getty Images)

It's well known that Michelle Obama has brought fashion back to the White House, wearing young designers like Rodarte, Cushnie et Ochs, and Proenza Schouler, along with more established names like Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez, and Diane von Furstenberg. And fashion is paying the first lady back, with a campaign to support her husband’s 2012 reelection bid. (Not that they wouldn't anyway: In a study conducted during the 2008 election, the nonpartisan group Center for Responsive Politics discovered that executives and employees from a cross-section of large apparel brands and retail companies contributed twice as much money to Barack Obama as to GOP nominee John McCain.)

Today the Obama campaign released the official list of Runway to Win designers, which includes Tory Burch, Von Furstenberg, Rodriguez, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra, Rag & Bone, Rachel Roy, and Tracy Reese. Headed by Vogue editrix Anna Wintour (who has so far raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s 2012 reelection), Runway to Win aims to spread Obama reelection fever through Obama-inspired designs that are available for purchase on the President's Web site. While Runway to Win isn’t the only way for fashion designers to show support for the President, it certainly is the largest fashion group backing the President’s reelection.

Runway to Win follows 2008’s Runway to Change, where designers teamed up to create tote bags, t-shirts, and scarves in support of Barack Obama. ARTINFO breaks down the politics of Runway to Win, from the company that barred its labels from participating to the first timers.

Jason Wu, which makes perfect sense, considering he designed the gorgeous white gown Michelle Obama wore to the inaugural ball in 2009. Another first-timer is 2011 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award-winner Joseph Altuzarra. Other new editions are Richard Blanch, Eddie Borgo, Sean Combs, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa, Prabal Gurung, Laura Kofoid and Grace Tsao-Wu of Laudi Vidni, and Monique Péan.

Alexander Wang, Tory Burch, Beyoncé and Tina Knowles of House of Deréon, Diane von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone, Rachel Roy, Russell Simmons, and Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler have all signed on to participate in Runway to Win after contributing designs to Runway to Change.

Maria Cornejo, Charles Nolan, Zac Posen, Nanette Lepore, Lutz & Patmos, Juicy Couture, Isaac Mizrahi, Brian Reyes, and Jeffery Costello and Robert Tagliapietra of Costello Tagliapietra participated in Runway to Change but are not involved Runway to Win.

Photographers have snapped Michelle Obama wearing designs by Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, Narciso Rodriguez, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Rachel Roy, Vera Wang, Thakoon, Prabal Gurung, and Tracy Reese.

Some brands didn’t want to endorse Obama and potentially offend Republican customers. WWD reports that LVMH barred its labels from participating, but that Marc Jacobs went ahead and designed a t-shirt anyway, reportedly due to pressure from Vogue.

Donna Karan, another LVMH brand, will not participate in Runway to Win, even though the company designed a t-shirt for the Runway to Change campaign, and its namesake is a well-known supporter of the Obamas and the Democratic party. Some other designers worn regularly by Michelle Obama but not participating in Runway to Win are Reed Krakoff, Doo-Ri Chung, Chris Benz, Michael Kors, Isabel Toledo, and Peter Som.