Fashion companies have discovered a lucrative new marketing vehicle: Sarah Palin.
Since John McCain chose her last month as his running mate, Palin's personal style has sparked a buying frenzy. Many women are snapping up her choices of shoes and eyeglasses and blogging about which brand of lipstick she wears. Hairstylists and wig sellers report sudden demand for her trademark up-dos.
“Obviously we're going to get a jump from this,” says Joe Aronesty, owner of WigSalon.com. In the past week, the company has sold more than 20 Palin-esque wigs, ranging in price from $100 to the “Bargain Sarah Palin” wig for $46.
Fashion firms have long boasted when first ladies wore their clothing and accessories. Jacqueline Kennedy lent cachet to Oleg Cassini gowns and Halston pillbox hats during the 1960s. This year, the sight of Michelle Obama in a $148 black-and-white tank dress on ABC's “The View” in June helped popularize the White House/Black Market store. But having a national candidate who is a former beauty queen and in the news every day is even better for business, many fashion companies say.
Palin's spokeswoman, Maria Comella, declined to comment on any aspect of the governor's personal style.
Palin's eyeglasses – rimless $375 frames made by Kazuo Kawasaki are on back order, says Amy Hahn, vice president of Italee Optics Inc., the brand's U.S. distributor. To keep up with orders, which have quadrupled since the Republican National Convention, manufacturing has shifted to a 24-hour production cycle, Hahn says.
John Barrett, whose salon is in New York retailer Bergdorf Goodman, says that in the past week he has given five clients the hairstyle Palin wore during the convention. “People are requesting it - it shows off the cheekbones,” says Barrett.