Joe Biden and Barack Obama’s power suits may soon become power hoodies, if Ashley Biden has her say
Updated: November 21, 2017
The Obama-Biden bromance has gotten even more cozy.
When former Vice President Joe Biden first learned of the viral memes featuring him and Barack Obama, he “sat there for an hour and laughed,” his daughter Ashley Biden tells Moneyish. She would know – she’s the one who broke the news to her dad. His favorite one? An image of him and Obama hugging, above a caption celebrating their eight years of partnership.
Or at least it was until Nov. 20, when the 44th commander-in-chief tweeted a meme of Biden jokingly interrupting him during an address to Congress for his veep’s 75th birthday. “Happy birthday to @JoeBiden, my brother and the best vice president anybody could have,” he wrote.
"See? Doesn't this feel right?"
"Joe I'm not leaving my wife for you."
"You said we'd be together forev-"
"8 years. I said 8 years." pic.twitter.com/C2PoAXCD00
— 🦃l' QWERTY Bastard (@TheDiLLon1) October 17, 2016
ME: Joe, about halfway through the speech, I’m gonna wish you a happy birth–
BIDEN: IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 20, 2017
Now the younger Biden is introducing the suit-wearing duo to something else: the hoodie. Biden recently launched Livelihood, a made-in-America collection of soft, organic cotton hoodies, with fashion retailer Gilt — and the Obamas are getting samples. “I talked to Michelle and the President about it and they were really excited,” says the 35-year-old, who notes that Malia and Sasha Obama are best friends with her nieces Finnegan and Maisy and play on the same sports teams. “My parents had a nice relationship with the Obamas and still do.”
Already, Joe has swapped his luxe Hart Schaffner Marx two-pieces for his daughter’s designs. “Dad’s old school, but the other day for Sunday dinner, he wore a blue zip down,” says Ashley. (For those curious about how hard that is, all but two photos of Joe Biden in the first few hundred hits on Google Images show him in a suit or tuxedo.) All proceeds from the sweatshirts, which retail for $79 to $99, will be donated to two underprivileged communities in D.C. and Delaware. (Her educator mother Jill sports a pink pullover when she’s grading papers.)
The former Veep tells Moneyish that he wasn’t surprised when Ashley turned to fashion, especially since a charitable cause is involved. “This is a new project for Ashley, but not new work,” he says. At the start of Livelihood, he told his daughter that “if your work motivates you, animates you and gives you a sense of purpose, you will find your way to success.”
The Obamas and Bidens won’t be alone in wearing her threads. The casual collection landed in early February and half the pieces have already sold in less than a month. Biden acknowledges that brisk sales are partly due to to timing: Her dad made his first post-veep appearance at her launch party, which was also attended by socialite Olivia Palermo and designer Mara Hoffman.
“It was never [difficult] to get him to show up,” says Biden, who recalls Amtrak’s most famous commuter traveling from D.C. to Delaware during a childhood birthday to blow candles with her on a platform, before heading straight back to the capital for a late-night vote.
Up next for Biden, who’s keeping her day job running the Delaware Center for Justice: Teaching civic engagement and a possible second collection in time for the back-to-school season. “My hope is that we’ll end up hiring from the communities we work with, I’d love to see manufacturing brought back to the U.S.,” she says.
This story was updated on November 21, 2017 with news of Obama’s congratulatory tweet to his vice president.
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