Imitation may be the best form of flattery but it's also the best form of business. With many blogs and websites dedicated to chronicling and copying looks worn by the ever-stylish First Lady of the House, there was bound to be knockoff designer duds modeled after Michelle Obama's outfits.
Last Wednesday, British clothing retailer Asda unveiled its holiday season "Impress Dress" collection and one design in particular, named "The Michelle" for $32, went flying off the shelves. The dress, a metallic red-and-black jacquard frock with a boatneck, cap sleeves and a pleated A-line skirt, more than closely resembled the Michael Kors dress the FLOTUS wore when President Barack Obama was reelected.
"Our Michelle Obama inspired flower jacquard dress was an instant hit amongst shoppers," George brand director Fiona Lambert told The Daily Mail.
The dress was so popular, Lambert said, that it completely sold out within two days and Asda has no plans to restock the dress. Lambert said the dress, and others in the collection including Carol Vorderman and Victoria Beckham-inspired designs, resulted in a 41 percent sale increase for Asda in comparison to the same week last year.
But it wasn't just a dress inspired by the First Lady's outfit; it was also a result from polling data from Asda customers, who chose Obama as "the most impressive female dresser" this year.
The original Obama dress by Michael Kors was an item previously worn by the First Lady, who has a penchant for recycling her fashion choices. Before her husband was reelected, Obama wore the frock to a 2009 holiday event at the White House as well as a Medal of Honor Ceremony in Nov. 2010 in Washington, D.C.
The FLOTUS effect is not a new concept, though. Obama has long been a top contender in the best-dressed world, garnering sartorial cachet from top designers, editors and fashionistas alike. She has also spawned business from shoppers looking to snag items similar to those which hang in her closet in several, memorable instances. In 2008, Obama mentioned she's wearing a J.Crew dress she purchased online during an appearance on "The Tonight Show" and the website crashes with shoppers frantically trying to buy the same dress. That same year, Obama wore a $148 Donna Ricco dress on "The View" in June. It sold out too. After a long list of fashion credits and being cited as the source which thrusted designers Jason Wu and Thakoon Panichgul into the spotlight, Obama wore Artistic Nail Design’s blue-grey color nail polish this past October and fashionistas scrambled to get their paws on the nail color.
According to the Harvard Business Review, Obama “created $2.7 billion in cumulative abnormal returns” between November 2008 and December 2009 and, on average, lands a company $14 million just for getting dressed in the morning.
Talk about influence.