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Controversies: Is J.Crew Exploiting the Obama Girls?

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If you work in fashion media, you wind up getting a lot of press releases informing you of what celebrities are wearing at any given moment. For obvious reasons, this practice is less widespread in politics, and so when J.Crew sent out a release about the Obama girls' outfits in Moscow on Monday, it caused a bit of a stir. Politico picked up the story with a post reporting that Michelle Obama hadn't approved the release. In fact, they pointed out, back in January, when a company tried to produce dolls based on Sasha and Malia, the First lady's spokeswoman said "We believe it is inappropriate to use young, private citizens for marketing purposes."

So did J.Crew do something wrong? In today's Washington Post, Robin Givhan vigorously defends the company: "If photographs of its products are all over wire services, newspapers and television—and these were—then the company should be allowed to step up and say, 'Yes, we made that.' It seems only fair." Then again, she agrees that it's "icky" whenever companies promote themselves using celebrity children, whether the kid is Suri Cruise or Sasha Obama. Your thoughts? (The photo at right, by the way, is indeed from a press release—from Narcisco Rodriguez, which made Michelle's dress.)
· J. Crew hawks first daughter clothes [Politico]
· Who Are They Wearing? It's a Matter of Public Record. [WaPo]