At this point we've all seen it. As a friend on instagram pointed out, "it can't be unseen." While we can all speculate on the true meaning behind Melania Trump's "I Really Don't Care Do You? jacket. I find myself more interested in the jacket itself rather then the wearer.
What fascinates me about this jacket is it's origin. The jacket, a "sold out" design from fast-fashion retailer, Zara is said to have retailed for $39. When I first saw the picture of the jacket I knew I had seen it before, but not from Zara.
It should come as no surprise that as an outerwear designer, I actually look at other designer's jackets from time to time. Unlike Zara, I am usually looking to see what has been done before and what is currently on the market. I'm not interested in providing more of the same-same, yet it would be foolish to say that trends are entirely un-important to me. I have worked for a fast-fashion retailer in the past and I am familiar with the knock off business model. Fast fashion designers shop European models and bring them back to their studio's for the sole purpose of copying them. In the case of the Zara's jacket, I recognized immediately (what I believe to be) the original source of Zara's "inspiration." I too, loved the original jacket and have even re-posted it to express my own frustrations with politics. However, I've never known the actual source of the jacket, nor had any intentions of copying it.
With help a fashionable friend Ambience Chase, who pointed out that the original jacket may be from 5PREVIEW, I was able to confirm that the original was from their S/S 16 collection and read a bit more about the company which according to their website,
"began in 2008 in a small apartment in Rome when Swedish designer and illustrator, Emelie Mårtensson, decided to release a small, graphic tee shirt collection of 5 pieces. Her expressive, illustrative style and ironic, bold imagery became quickly popular and the label expanded from a small tee shirt line into a complete women’s collection."
The original jacket bore the words, "Fuck You I Won't Do What You Tell Me," the lyrics of Rage Against the Machine's 1992's "Killing in the Name." The song's message is one of protest in the face of institutionalized racism and police brutality, two topics which continue to reign supreme in 2018 and arguable two topics at the center of Melania's Texas visit.
While Melania's representative claims "There's no hidden meaning," and #Itsjustajacket. I can't help but disagree. To me, all clothing hides within it some meaning. The wearer may be unaware of the meaning, or has chosen the give it new meaning, but nonetheless the meaning is there. As mentioned, I too loved this jacket when I first saw it and it's not because I'm not a huge fan of Rage Against the Machine, I just agreed with what the jacket said to me during a time of political turmoil taking place in my own life.
But ultimately in this case, to deny it's meaning, is to deny the obvious, since the jacket literally reads, "I Really Don't Care, Do You?"
And although I'm disappointed to see Mrs Trump donning a $39 jacket that was most likely manufactured in a sweat shop (yet another form of institutionalized racism) I do believe that deep down inside she does care about something. What exactly that is, only she knows.