Opinion

Please Advise! Did The Donald’s Reverse Midas Touch Kill Ivanka’s Clothing Line?

Maybe she misjudged the market, says Dr. Steve. Infant onesies in prison stripes might have sold.

By Steve Burgess 26 Jul 2018 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.

Dear Dr. Steve,

Ivanka Trump has closed down her clothing line. Is this evidence that, as Rick Wilson says, everything Trump touches dies?

Signed,
Hopeful Hicks

Dear HH,

Ah, the twists and turns of celebrity. One day you're getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the next day it is being massacred by a pickaxe-wielding critic. One day you are having dinner with the Chinese president and getting sweetheart deals to peddle your Ivanka products in the lucrative Chinese market, the next day you are out on the Fifth Avenue sidewalk begging for coins in a ragged but chic Ivanka brand sun dress and pumps. Six months from now, perhaps Instagram will be full of pictures of Ivanka waiting tables at a Cracker Barrel in Albany.

So is the failure of the Ivanka clothing line evidence of the toxic Trump brand? It would be nice to think so. But evidence suggests otherwise. Check out the latest bestsellers at Amazon.com. The Number 1 book as of writing was The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, while Number 3 was Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Liars, Leakers and Liberals. Yes, summertime is Kool-Aid season and Americans still seem to be drinking it by the keg.

And that is probably what went wrong with Ivanka’s clothing line. The president’s daughter did not target her true audience. She wanted to market her clothes to people who don’t call the police when they see black people barbecuing or mowing the lawn. Hell, Ivanka’s website even had black models. Trump people don’t want to see that sort of fabric miscegenation.

But Ivanka’s dreams of respectability fell through. Nordstrom dropped her line and so did Hudson’s Bay, presumably in favour of less controversial brands like Baby Sealskin Winter Wear and Cruella DeVille’s Dalmatian Sensations.

If only Ivanka had abandoned her dream to be cool with the New York crowd and be allowed into restaurants where sane people eat, her clothing line could have been gangbusters. She simply didn’t go far enough to embrace her father’s ideals.

Why didn’t she decide to sell more Trump-friendly products? For example, to commemorate President Trump’s bold and courageous actions to protect Americans from immigrant toddlers, a cute little onesie in prison stripes. Or a T-shirt that says “My daddy became president and all I got was illegal plugs from Kellyanne Conway.” Perhaps a line of “Grab Me Here” slacks with reinforced crotch for extra protection. The nearly 40 per cent of Republicans who now express support for murderous Russian tyrants would love some “Mad for Vlad” casual wear.

Ivanka could also have taken her fashion cue from Melania Trump. The First Lady’s Zara jacket read “I really don't care, do u?” Ivanka might have followed suit with Trump-themed messages like, “If God was real I would never stop being struck by lightning,” and “I have my head so far up my ass I see things from Sean Hannity’s perspective.”

Perhaps Ivanka simply needs to learn more lessons from her father’s business successes. After all, if we learned anything from Trump University — no, hold on, let me finish — it’s that there’s a Trump customer born every minute. In a way, Trump is like a lawyer — his typical client is seeking a divorce from objective reality. Ivanka should embrace that patented Trump approach. She could diversify from clothing into areas like identity theft and phony prescription drugs. (Or perhaps a line of cat-shit pills for budding entrepreneurs? Hey, if Trump University worked...) When your last name is Trump your best business model is always something along the lines of “Add Inches to Your Penis Overnight!”

Help could be on the way for Ivanka. Her fashion line is not the only American business suffering on account of her father’s presidency. The Trump administration has announced it will provide subsidies for farmers (Trump alone can fix it!) who have been hurt by the retaliation against Trump’s tariffs.

Since Trump is now heroically rescuing Americans from the consequences of his own policies, it stands to reason he can also offer subsidies for businesses hurt by a direct connection to Trump himself. These could include hotels, steaks, fraudulent universities and, of course, Ivanka’s clothing line. After all it’s not Ivanka’s fault that she was forced to exploit her father's name to peddle unexceptional clothes to undiscriminating women.

But whatever Ivanka decides to get into — porn star management, escape-proof isolation cribs, Mexican proximity alarms — she would do well to recall the words of Michelle Obama: When they go low, they get rich selling End Times Coffee and Secret US Treasury Funds.

And remember, Ivanka, always follow the golden rule of Trump transactions: cash only.  [Tyee]

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