American discount retailer Stein Mart is reportedly selling Ivanka Trump’s clothing line under a different label: Adreienne Vittadini.
G-III, the company that owns the right to manufacture and distribute Ivanka Trump apparel, has acknowledged since the news broke that it sold relabeled clothing to the discount retailer without the knowledge of the Ivanka Trump brand and has taken responsibility for the switch.
“G-III accepts responsibility for resolving this issue, which occurred without the knowledge or consent of the Ivanka Trump organisation,” a representative for G-III said in a statement to Business of Fashion. “G-III has already begun to take corrective actions, including facilitating the immediate removal of any mistakenly labelled merchandise from its customer. The Ivanka Trump brand continues to grow and remains very strong.”
It should be noted that it is not uncommon for high-end fashion lines to be relabeled before they are sold at retail stores in order to protect the fancier brands from being associated with bargain shopping. However, considering the controversy around Ivanka Trump’s brand, including the recent decision by Nordstrom’s not to carry her brand anymore, it is entirely possible that a rebranding was put forward in order to move the product in the first place if no one wanted to be associated with it and risk boycotts.
Stein Mart chief executive D. Hunt Hawkins said that the relabeling was not politically motivated, however.
“We’ve had both labels for a while. We may see more Adrienne Vittadini in the short term,” he said. “I’ve had an equal number of [customers] say that they don’t want and do want [the Ivanka Trump merchandise] in the store. If we get it, we get.”
Susan Scafidi, professor of fashion law at Fordham Law School and founder of the Fashion Law Institute noted that even if the relabeling is legal, there are still questions about the ethics of the switch.
“Of course, the fact that a clothing retailer can legally relabel with certain restrictions doesn’t mean that it should, especially if label-conscious consumers are likely to be outraged by the switch,” Scafidi said. “Fashion may be trending toward modesty, but when it comes to labels, customers are demanding more transparency than ever.”