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Why Trump helped open a Louis Vuitton workshop in rural Texas
President Donald Trump appeared alongside one of his allies in the luxury world to help open a Louis Vuitton (LV) workshop in rural Texas. The opening marked the first luxury brand to seemingly align itself with the controversial president, though LV leaders at the appearance wouldn’t claim any formal association with Trump. Bernard Arnault, the CEO of Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH, is a French billionaire who is the third richest person in the world and has had business interests wrapped up with Trump’s presidency before. Though the legendary French company has workshops in California, Trump has touted the Texas site opening as a milestone for boosting American industry. The workshop could also help shield Louis Vuitton from future trade battles between the US and the European Union, making the rollout a win-win for the company and the Trump administration. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump’s attendance at the opening of a Louis Vuitton workshop in rural Texas may seem like a fairly random agenda item, but the move placed Trump alongside one of his longtime major allies from the fashion world. The appearance with LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault came 40 miles south of Fort Worth in Alvarado, Texas to open the luxury brand’s Rochambeau Ranch production facility. Previously, Arnault was a guest at Trump’s first state dinner and one of the first CEOs to meet with Trump after his 2017 inauguration. The name of the ranch seemed particularly significant for the brand and its new neighbors as the site was named after the French general who aided the colonies in the American Revolution in melding French and American culture. “This workshop will soon employ 500 of the most highly skilled workers anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “No one can match the precision and perfection of an American artisan.”Foto: President Donald J. Trump addresses his remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, October 17, 2019, at the Louis Vuitton Workshop- Rochambeau in Alvarado, Texas.sourceOfficial White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via White House Flickr Arnault told reporters he was honored to have the president in attendance but stopped short of calling him a friend, saying only that they had known each other since the 1980s, when the two met in New York around the time when Arnault founded LVMH, or Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessy, which has grown to include 75 luxury, fashion, and beauty brands including Christian Dior, Givenchy, Dom Pérignon, and Sephora. The billionaire is currently the third-richest person in the world and has caused controversy when he met with Trump shortly after the 2016 election, much to the chagrin of American designers like Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Philip Lim who vowed they wouldn’t dress first lady Melania Trump. The first lady has since worn custom designs from the French house and is seen traveling with multiple pieces of the brand’s luggage. Foto: A White House aide carries Louis Vuitton ‘s bags prior to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump departure from the White House September 2, 2017 in Washington, DC.sourcePhoto by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images Reports of the meeting pointed to Arnault’s possible concerns about the Louis Vuitton flagship, which is situated in Manhattan at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, just blocks away from Trump Tower and in the midst of heavy security barricades and checkpoints to protect the president-elect, which some retailers say cut business by around 30%. At the time of the 2016 meeting, Trump praised Arnault, who said he was planning an American expansion of Louis Vuitton, and said he would be involved in “wonderful things in this country, great things,” including “jobs, a lot of jobs.“ Brands associating with Trump have proven divisive, but the economic implications could mean a win-win moveFoto: President Donald Trump participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Louis Vuitton Workshop Rochambeau in Alvarado, Texas, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, with from left Alexandre Arnault, Michael Burke, Bernard Arnault and Ivanka Trump.source(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) The luxury brand could be the next business to experiment with loose associations with Trump. Since his emergence as a Republican presidential frontrunner, multiple brands have taken hits for connections to the controversial figure, like New Balance sparking controversy in 2016 for apparently celebrating the Trump-championed demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the calls for boycotts of Equinox and Soul Cycle memberships after the owner of their parent company hosted a Trump fundraiser in the Hamptons.Read more: People are setting their New Balance sneakers on fire because they think the company endorsed Trump The opening already sparked controversy despite Trump’s popularity in Johnson County, where NPR reports 77.5% of voters backed him in 2016. Residents protested the workshop by appearing at public meetings to speak out about concerns of low wages for local workers and generous tax breaks for the luxury brand. However, the Louis Vuitton workshop is a key part of Trump’s Pledge to America’s Workers, and his generally touted initiative to boost US industry. The leather will be processed in a different facility and won’t be made from Texan cattle, but bags will still carry “Made in the USA” labels after leaving the $50-million facility and will create 1,000 jobs. The post Why Trump helped open a Louis Vuitton workshop in rural Texas appeared first on Business Insider Nederland.
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