Ivanka Drumpf Shoe Line Ad

My mom and I are bonded by our love of shopping. Our mother-daughter outings consisted of early Saturday morning trips to the mall and lunch at Cheesecake Factory. She  not only taught me how to take a 40% discount at the ripe age of 9, but also taught how to be an ethical and informed buyer.

Also a strict vegetarian, she advised me on what brands were tested on animals, and how to check tags for feather down in winter coats. In addition to her cruelty-free stances, she also instilled in me her beliefs on the power of the consumer. One of her beliefs is against celebrity clothing brands, like those of Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker.

She refuses to buy them on the principle that these celebrities would never wear their own low-quality products when they are only photographed in expensive designer wear. “Every pair of plastic shoe you buy just helps them buy a pair Louboutins,” she would say whenever I picked up a pair of Jessica Simpson pumps at Macy’s. Likewise, my mom included Ivanka Drumpf on this list of banned products long before her father Donald Drumpf started campaigning for president.

Four days after Donald Drumpf was elected the next president of the United States, Shoes.com declared that they would be removing Ivanka Drumpf’s shoe line from their website. #Grabyourwallet started trending on Twitter, a campaign by consumers to boycott Drumpf products. Despite the fact that I would never purchase an Ivanka Drumpf product myself, I do not support Shoes.com’s decision to pull Ivanka Drumpf’s line.

It should be a consumer’s decision to not buy a product if they do not support the brand. Unlike Macy’s dropping Donald Drumpf’s menswear line after his tirade against Mexican immigrants in 2015, Ivanka Drumpf has done nothing controversial enough to inspire companies to pull her brand. She is a business-savvy and well-educated woman. Although she is highly privileged, I do not think her father being Donald Drumpf is justification enough for a large company like Shoes.com to pull her brand.

Shoes.com’s official statement is that Ivanka Drumpf’s shoes were “not selling well,” and that’s why they were removed from their website. However, Shoes.com also tweeted “We understand and your voices have been heard. We have removed the products from our website,” suggesting their motives to pull Ivanka Drumpf products were politically inspired and influenced by Donald Drumpf. Drumpf critics lauded Shoes.com for their tweet against Ivanka Drumpf.

This publicity stunt might have boosted Shoes.com’s visibility, but Ivanka Drumpf should not be blamed for her father’s actions.

I do believe that her sales likely suffered due to backlash from her father, and that poor sales are a reasonable justification to stop selling a brand. Yet I also believe that Shoes.com should have just removed the shoes from their website if sales were poor, instead of making a political statement out of it.

It is the responsibility of consumers to educate themselves about the products they buy, and to consume ethically. #GrabYourWallet is excellent example of consumer activism, but companies should not use it for a chance at publicity.

-Molly Hessel

Image courtesy of Nordstrom



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