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Why Some Top Fashion Designers Are Divided on Dressing Melania Trump

From the launch of a foundation to promote European artisans to a homegrown fashion company scoring a funding coup, here's the hottest fashion news.

01:The debate intensifies on dressing Melania Trump

Unlike outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama, who is loved for championing American designers including Naeem Khan, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung, many designers have mixed feelings for US president-elect’s wife, Melania Trump.

(RELATED: Naeem Khan stopped by Singapore recently, and described his ambition to design for the FLOTUS.)

French-American designer Sophie Theallet fired an early salvo by stating she would not dress Trump. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”

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The Trumps on the campaign circuit.

Others, such as Tommy Hilfiger, said: “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her.”

Marc Jacobs said he would take a different approach. He told WWD: “Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by [Donald] Trump and his supporters.”

Now, all eyes are on what Trump will wear for her husband’s Presidential inauguration ceremony come January 20 and the message she seeks to convey through her choice.

02:The Fifth Collection secures $2m in venture capital seed funding

With vintage fashion increasingly regarded by the fashion cognoscenti as the antidote to mass-produced fashion, this coup by The Fifth Collection could not be timelier. The homegrown site, which specialises in vintage clothing, bags and accessories, announced it raised $2m in seed funding from a group of investors led by venture capitalists Florian Fenner who has a focus on Southeast Asia. The funds will be used to enhance the customer experience and service offerings of the site.

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Also, just in time for the holiday season, the site has curated Vintage Forward, a 40-piece collection of rare collectibles from brands including Chanel, Hermes and Yves Saint Laurent. The range of handbags, jewellery and apparel are on display at multi-label store Manifesto at Capitol Piazza.

03:European artisans get their own Foundation

A newly established Geneva-based non-profit Michelangelo Foundation is putting the spotlight on the European artisans such as lace makers and leather craftsmen, who make up an integral part of the fashion industry. Co-founded by Johann Rupert, chairman of the Richemont Group, the organisation hopes to build networks of artisan, facilitate apprenticeships and further recognition for the cultural heritage of these artisans.

While the Foundation is still in its very early stages, Rupert tells the New York Times he hopes to establish a TripAdvisor-style recommendation system, which means shoppers from abroad may finally be able to discover these unique artisans and buy their wares when they visit Europe.