Misinformation often runs amok on the internet. Most recently, a supposed quote about Melania Trump by fashion designer Tom Ford circulated on Twitter. A now-deleted tweet attributed a quote about the first lady being described as someone "who steals speeches and has bad taste in men" to Ford, but as Vox reported on Tuesday, he has never said such a thing.
According to Vox, Ford's spokesperson said: "This is an absolutely fabricated and completely fake quote attributed to Mr. Ford that has somehow gone viral. Mr. Ford did not make this statement; it is completely false." The actual tweet, which was originally posted by Twitter user @fras99, has since been deleted from the website.
Though Ford has denied that he ever said that about the first lady, the fashion guru has previously spoken about dressing her. In 2016, after the election, Ford told The View that the first lady was "not necessarily my image." Ford also added that even before Trump's husband ran for president, the fashion designer was asked to dress Trump — but he chose to decline.
During the same interview, Ford said that he still wouldn't dress the first lady, or even Hillary Clinton if she'd won the election, because their image should be relatable to everyday Americans. "Even had Hillary won, she shouldn’t be wearing my clothes," he said. "They’re too expensive. And I don’t mean that in a bad way — they’re not artificially expensive, it’s the cost to make these things."
As Ford implied in 2016, it may be difficult to be relatable when you're the first lady of the United States and fashion giants around the world want to dress you. The Business Insider noted in 2018 that the gowns, blouses, shirts, and other items that first ladies wear are often not purchased using American taxpayer money; rather, many of these pieces, which are often expensive, are offered at no cost by fashion designers.
And getting to dress a first lady comes with its fair share of exposure, according to Vogue. Fashion designers, the publication reported, view it as an opportunity to showcase their sartorial expertise on an international stage.
Though Ford didn't point to politics as his reason for not dressing Trump, other designers have used more political stances to explain why they chose not to dress the first lady. In 2016, French fashion designer Sophie Theallet published an open letter on Twitter in which she urged other members of the fashion industry to distance themselves from the White House under Trump.
"As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next first lady [Melania Trump]," Theallet wrote. "The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband's presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by."
Be it Ford or Theallet, fashion designers have their political opinions like the rest of us. But, as is the case with this particular fake Ford quote, it's always worth checking out if those opinions were ever stated to begin with.