An American fashion brand wants to ensure that more women enter politics. To do so, they’re making a simple pledge: if you stand for office, they will dress you for your campaign. No payment required.
Here’s the good news: there are more women serving in the US Congress than ever before. After the 2018 midterm elections, some 102 women now serve in the House of Representatives, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, making up just under a quarter of total seats.
And the bad? Despite major increases in representation, the US still ranks 75th in the world in terms of the number of women elected to government. The US trails behind countries including Rwanda, Cuba, Bolivia, Mexico, Grenada, Nicaragua, South Africa and Sweden when it comes to its percentage of women in politics. (In the UK, women make up 34% of the House of Commons.)
Fashion brand MMLafleur wants to do something about that. The clothing and styling brand, which has dressed everyone from Cynthia Nixon to Rep. Stephanie Meyer on the campaign trail, has pledged that they will dress any woman who runs for office free of charge.
And by office they mean exactly that: no matter what election you are running in, be it the 2020 congressional race or a position on your town council, MMLafleur will dress you for your campaign. For free.
“As we head into Primary Season, we want to do our small part in supporting female candidates,” an email from MMLafleur read. “We never purport that clothes help move the needle on female representation, but we want to do our part to make things a tiny bit easier.”
The news was met with celebration on social media, with many women who are running in the 2020 elections putting up their hands for MMLafleur’s styling service. (The caveat, as co-founder of organisation Run For Something Amanda Litman pointed out, is to make sure that accepting their services is allowed under your particular campaign rules.)
“They came to my rescue last month,” wrote congressional candidate Renee Hoyos on Twitter. “I was in DC for some meetings and realised that I left my suits at home. They found me a nice dress that complimented the accessories I brought and I was on my way!”
Added Shannon Hutcheson, congressional candidate in Texas: “This is incredible! As women, we are often held to impossible standards relating to our clothing, accessories and appearance in general. When was the last time anyone commented on a male candidate’s suit? It just doesn’t happen. Thank you.”
Shawna Roberts, who is running for congress in Ohio, said that she had previously bought her campaign wardrobe from thrift stores and sales racks. “Imagine an MMLafleur,” she tweeted. “This is an awesome gesture. Clothing cannot be claimed as a campaign expense, yet many of us are not wealthy and also naturally gravitate towards the ‘just finished feeding goats’ look.”
With a record number of women set to run for election in 2020, MMLafleur’s initiative couldn’t have come at a more critical time. Now, if only a few more fashion brands could get on board.