Amidst the controversial Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, first lady Melania Trump caused strife earlier this month when she wore a green jacket with the phrase adorned, “I DON’T REALLY CARE, DO U?” as she boarded a plane to visit McAllen, Texas. McCallen, according to NBC, is the largest immigration processing center in the country, and the location where hundreds of young immigrants now reside after being torn from their families.
For many, the jacket symbolizes the ruthless and inhumane policies the current administration has towards immigration. As a result, the jacket has been turned into memes, slogans and even apparel, being sold on Amazon, eBay, Redbubble and Etsy. Previously owned versions of the Zara jacket are also being auctioned on eBay with bids reaching close to $1,000. Teen Vogue reported that the fashion brand, Wildfang, re-created a similar jacket to say, “I Really Do Care, Don’t U”, and donated the $250,000 profits to RAICES, an organization that provides legal services to immigrants and refugees.
Fashion has been a powerful tool of political discourse for the role of first lady since Jackie O graced the Kennedy administration with pillbox hats and white gloves. Fashion serves as a visual representation of an administration’s values. If there are no coincidences in politics, and the Trump administration has been known to use outrageous PR stunts to distract news outlets from the important issues at hand, then this must be one of them. Leave it to the Trump administration to have America debate the many symbols behind a $39 Zara jacket while hundreds of children await processing behind metal bars.