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President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and their spouses during the 59th inauguration in D.C.
President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and their spouses during the 59th inauguration in D.C.
Photo by U.S. Army Private 1st Class Laura Hardin distributed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 license

Bold Fashion and Bold Messages From Inauguration Day

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

Inauguration day has always been a big spectacle, even more so this term because of all the difficult events that have happened such as the COVID-19 pandemic and what is being referred to as one of the most controversial elections to date. It seems as though the whole world has been anxiously watching the inauguration, waiting for a glimpse of what the next four years will hold. With that in mind, Jill Biden and Bernie Sanders have set a premise and have been caught in the political fashion conversation because of who they wore on Inauguration day

Joe Biden takes the presidential oath of office
Photo by DoD, U.S. Army Sgt. Charlotte Carulli distributed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 license
Jill Biden has already been highlighted for her experience as a working-class woman, being a career educator, and holding a doctorate in education. So, how she presented herself and what she wore for Joe Biden’s inauguration was a big deal. Typically, it’s a tradition for the first ladies to wear American designer brands; last inauguration Melania Trump wore Ralph Lauren. So naturally, reporters were squirming to figure out what big-name designer she would wear. However, Jill Biden decided to represent a small New York based designer by the name of Alexandra O’Neill whose relatively young label is called Markarian. The reason this is such a field day for reporters is that by wearing her design, she is essentially pushing her brand into the limelight. Markarian is likely to experience endless media exposure which is pivotal for this up and coming small brand. 

flicker: creative common
The second conversation going around is a very heartfelt one on behalf of Bernie Sanders. He wore mittens that were made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. They were created by Jen Ellis, a second-grade teacher just outside Burlington, Vermont. She was able to gift them to Sanders through his daughter-in-law. The internet has loved the mittens just as much as reporters and the fashion industry. Pictures of Sanders with his mittens have flooded our timelines recently with people making memes out of Sanders. Jen Ellis herself has gotten thousands of requests about the mittens and has stated she will not be selling any mittens but has asked people to, instead, buy from DIY crafters on Etsy.

Michelle Obama and Barack Obama at the 2021 Inauguration
Photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery distributed under a Public Domain Mark 1.0 license
The exposure these politicians gave small designers is intense and game-changing. Hopefully, we see more small brand promotion in the future, and hopefully, this is a start of a new wave in fashion and politics.  

Jay Telles

UC Riverside '22

Fourth-year English major with a love for social justice, fashion, and woman empowerment.
Deedee Plata

UC Riverside '22

20 year old creative writing major with a love for skincare, representation, and art. When not laying down and watching cartoons, I can be found working on my novel or browsing through baby name forums.