Women’s Wear Daily
04.16.2014
textiles
textiles

Industry Shifts Toward Democrats in Race for White House

Fashion industry executives are voting with their wallets this presidential primary season, getting behind Democrats, particularly New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Arizona Sen. John McCain received a $1,700 donation from Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., and $2,300 from Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of Estée Lauder. Sidney Kimmel, chairman of Jones Apparel Group, donated $1,150.

Kimmel also contributed $2,300 to Clinton, while the Lauders each gave $4,600 to Giuliani, according to records.

"Clinton is by far the favorite [of fashion executives] and Democrats are favored across all industry categories, although less so for department stores," said Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics. "Clinton obviously does well raising money among women and the fashion industry has more women working in it than many other industries. There is undeniable clout with female donors, and there is excitement and interest about putting the first woman in the White House."

Guiliani's connection to New York has helped him get industry support, but that could erode, Krumholz said.

"He is strongly associated with New York, arguably more so than Clinton, and he clearly has connections from running the city and being more deeply rooted in its history," she said.

However, Krumholz said Giuliani's fashion support may wane as he repositions himself to appeal to the GOP conservative base and the evangelical community.

"He might be making a calculation that having Pat Robertson support him is [more important] than having [a fashion executive] support him," she said.

Clinton receives backing from industry executives because of her Senate record and eight years as first lady.

"She sees the bigger pictures," said Julie Chaiken, designer and ceo of Chaiken, a San Francisco-based contemporary brand. "She's not naïve to what is going on in Washington. I think sometimes the outside perspective is good, but in a year like this, I like to see somebody who knows how to weave their way through that gridlock."

Chaiken, who made a $1,000 contribution to Clinton in the third quarter, said she plans to get more heavily involved once the Democratic Party has its nominee.

"I have to say she's been very calculated about it and she might be a really nice person, but I'm not looking for the nicest person in the White House," Chaiken said. "I'm looking for the smartest, most strategic person who can get things done."
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