On the first night of the Democratic National Convention last month, Michelle Obama encouraged viewers to vote with a passionate speech and an accessory that sent Twitter into a search frenzy. The former First Lady donned a gold necklace from Black-owned jewelry brand ByChari that spelled out the word “V-O-T-E” while giving a blunt recap of Donald Trump’s presidency and endorsing Joe Biden.
Now, Obama’s longtime stylist Meredith Koop, along with Sarween Salih, has collaborated on a collection of merchandise from ByCharli and other Black-owned and women-owned brands in partnership with the former First Lady's non-profit organization When We All Vote to promote the same message: exercise your rights and make your voice heard!
The Vote4 Ever collection (available now on whenweallvote.org) features apparel and accessories from DANZY and re—inc, home décor products from Franca NYC and Bright Black, makeup from The Lip Bar, protective face masks from Modiste Collection, custom stickers packets from No Kings Collective and Obama’s viral ByCharli necklace in both gold and silver.
Each item is embossed with the words “vote” to reinforce the importance of showing up at the polls — or mailing in an absentee ballot — this election year.
"The vision for this collection was to create unique covetable pieces in collaboration with talented creatives and business owners around the country," Koop, who has been dressing Obama for the last 10 years, said in a statement. "With so many 'vote' products on the market, we put a lot of energy and soul into curating high-quality products that are thoughtfully designed."
She continued: "Made in Brooklyn, Durham, D.C., Detroit and L.A., our Vote 4Ever Merch brands in some small way showcase the beautiful diverse country that America is."
Koop curated the collection alongside Salih, who served as Brand Strategy Advisor of Merchandise on the project.
"To amplify When We All Vote’s mission, we leveraged existing culture and created connection points that felt familiar and personal. To achieve this, we curated a thoughtful collection of brands and integrated calls to actions through tools like QR codes on packaging that take you directly to voter registration — eliminating obstacles to participation and creating opportunities for organic digital storytelling moments that have the power to spark change," said Salih.
The merchandise is designed to be "wearable, functional and cherished well past this current election cycle," according to a press release, and many pieces in the Vote4 Ever collection are gender-neutral, size-inclusive, sustainable and handmade.
"When Michelle Obama launched this organization in 2018, we set a goal to change the culture around voting, and Vote 4EVER Merch is a part of that mission," Stephanie L. Young, When We All Vote Chief Officer of Culture, Communications and Media Partnerships, said in a statement. "We know people, especially young people, make statements through what they wear and our hope is that this new line motivates more people to get registered and ready to vote."
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