First daughter Tiffany Trump continued to show support for one of her favorite brands, Taoray Wang, on Saturday as the Chinese designer debuted her Fall/Winter 2017 collection at New York Fashion Week. While her father, President Donald Trump, draws criticism for his policies on global trade and immigration, Tiffany took front row seats with her mother Marla Maples at a runway show for a made-in-China brand aimed at female professionals.
Tiffany’s relationship with the designer first drew media attention when she wore Taoray Wang to the first U.S. presidential debate, and later to her father’s inauguration. This time, though, Tiffany’s appearance at Taoray Wang’s show had Chinese state media, including Xinhua News Agency and China Daily, weighing in. As Tiffany dons the brand’s Chinese designed coats and dresses, questions hang in the air surrounding how Trump will handle trade with China. Donald Trump’s platform has been focused on reviving the manufacturing industry in the United States, but when it comes to fashion, Trump family members are no strangers to “Made in China” goods.
Taoray Wang first debuted her brand at New York Fashion Week in the fall of 2014 and later said in a press statement that she hoped to draw investors for a Shanghai-based textile company that she sat on the board for, Ribo Fashion Group Co. Ltd. She also wanted to secure purchases in the United States for her brand: “I want a market, and New York has a larger market. North America is the largest market second only to China. I am showing for orders.”
Before the runway show, Jing Daily spoke with designer, Tao Wang, whose latest collection featured feminine, structured suits layered over lace negligees and elegant coats in deep hues, drawing inspiration from ancient times to the modern world and from East to West. Tao said she thinks her cross-cultural take on modern business attire is part of what drew Tiffany to her work in the first place.
How did you get to know Tiffany Trump?
I have to be very honest with you—the first time I met Tiffany was at my Spring/Summer 2017 show in September 2016. At that time, nobody really knew who was going to win the election, and people were speculating a lot about the results. As a Chinese designer coming to New York, I literally know nothing about U.S. political parties, how many of them there are, or what they stand for. Therefore, the first time I met Tiffany, the relationship between us was just a fashion designer and a client who admired my designs. Later on, we became closer. She started to follow my brand, and she liked it. We had deeper interaction. After that, she wore my clothes to the first debate, third debate and even the presidential inauguration.
When international media reported Tiffany Trump wore your outfit to the inauguration, what was your reaction? Did you see that coming?
I did not know beforehand that she was going to wear my brand. What I did was I designed a few outfits for her because she always was asking me, “New York is so cold, do you have any coats for this season?” I did not know she would wear my coat to the ceremony, but I did know she had to attend it. Among all the outfits I designed specially for her, only one fit an official occasion and that was that white one she wore that day. When I saw her come out with my design, I was extremely excited and happy.
The nationality of the designers that have dressed politicians’ family members has been considered a political issue in both China and the United States. What do you think Tiffany’s choice to wear Taoray Wang during the inauguration meant to her father?
I am just a fashion designer, and my designs are not political. For this event, it was not planned. When we talked to each other, we only talked about clothes, styling, and how to pair and match items of clothing. Because Tiffany is very busy, we did not even have a chance to touch upon that topic. I am also quite busy. I don’t have that time to read newspapers and follow the news to know which politician or which party has said or done something, so I am being honest with you when I say that I did not talk with her about that. But the reason she chose my brand is because Taoray Wang is a brand designed for leaders. Different countries have leaders with different points of view, but in the end, their occupation is the same.
Why do you think Tiffany loves your brand so much?
That has to do with the role of the brand. Taoray Wang has two roles. Firstly, it serves global female professionals who have great leadership. They can be lawyers, financial experts, politicians, or business entrepreneurs, but they are not afraid of appearing feminine and attractive. They know what they want.
Secondly, Taoray Wang is a brand that integrates a number of different and diverse elements into one. My background is very diverse. I grew up in Japan, and then worked in the United Kingdom and China. Global female business leaders not only represent a nation, they also need to be representative on an international platform and need to work with different kinds of people.
Because Taoray Wang’s role is very clear, it says something about Tiffany’s choice. But when a person loves a brand, that is a link that is hard to describe.
What do you think of Tiffany?
I really admire Tiffany. She is very hardworking and pretty smart. She is also very down-to-earth. Every time she comes to my show, she is very warm and positive with me, as well as with my other clients. Tiffany is a person who really knows what she wants, and she is never afraid of expressing herself.
Does Tiffany ever give you any feedback on your designs?
Yes, Tiffany will tell me what colors she likes. For example, she likes white, black, and baby blue. So when I design clothes for her, I will usually choose those colors.