Marc Jacobs Says Designers Should Stay Out of Politics if They Don't Want Controversy

Despite the fact that the fashion industry has recently thrown its weight behind President Obama's re-election campaign, there is at least one designe
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Hayley Phelan
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Despite the fact that the fashion industry has recently thrown its weight behind President Obama's re-election campaign, there is at least one designe
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Despite the fact that the fashion industry has recently thrown its weight behind President Obama's re-election campaign, there is at least one designer who thinks it might be wise to stay out of politics. Kind of.

Marc Jacobs recently told WWD:

"I guess politics and fashion, you’ve always got to be a bit careful because somebody’s going to get offended or somebody’s going to feel it isn’t right. I don’t want to sound stupid or ignorant or anything, but I spend my time in the studio choosing fabric and colors and trying to figure out what we’re going to make.…If you want to avoid controversy, you just don’t do [political] things like that."

Jacobs comments come after his Free Tibet collection was met with criticism and the threat of a boycott in China. However, the designer said that it was when he decorated his store pro-Obama and anti George W. Bush in 2008--and received some criticism from LVMH--that he learned his lesson. Since then the designer has pulled back his political presence, though he hasn't disappeared altogether: Jacobs, if you remember, designed a t-shirt and pet gear for for Obama's Runway to Win and Bark for Obama, respectively. We wonder what Anna Wintour will think of his recent statement...

In the same interview, Jacobs also spoke about the importance of maintaining a strictly creative--as opposed to practical--process. "You kind of need to be free of working by demographics or anything like that,” he told the trade. "You just need to have a free, creative mind in order to really produce something that has the integrity of design."

To that end, Jacobs said that the recent Louis Vuitton show in emerging market Shanghai--complete with that magnificent million-dollar train--wasn't really his idea. "[LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault], of course, is very keen on us doing more things in Asia…and the next thing you knew, the train was being boated over to Shanghai."