• In this screenshot from the DNCCs livestream of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Former First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the virtual convention. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
"I did know that my clothes were making a statement ... So we decided why don't we use this platform to uplift some young new designers."
By
SBS staff writers

19 Aug 2020 - 11:57 AM  UPDATED 19 Aug 2020 - 12:41 PM

Former first lady Michelle Obama's powerful address at a democratic convention has attracted attention not just for her messsage but her style.

As she urged people to vote in the upcoming Presidential election, attention was drawn to a prominent VOTE necklace she sported on her neck. 

The necklace is a creation of Chari Cuthbert -  an African American designer and founder of custom jewellery design company 'ByChari'. On her website Cuthbert says her jewellery was  "a way for women to share and create their stories."

Cuthbert was thrilled with the endorsement, writing on Twitter that she was humbled Obama chose to wear her design.

"I never imagined that something I'm so passionate about could mean so much to so many! The response has been incredible and I am beyond honored and humbled that @michelleobama wore my design," she wrote.

Many of Obama's dress choices sell out within minutes of being broadcast by her. Obama's off-the shoulder white chiffon gown worn at her husband's 2009 Presidential inauguration launched the Canadian-Taiwanese designer Jason Wu into global fame.

Obama says she understands the power of image and the ability to change the life of designers, so was deliberate in her choice of wearing designs made by up-and-coming young designers from underrepresented groups. 

"I did know that my clothes were making a statement ... So we decided why don't we use this platform to uplift some young new designers who normally wouldn't get this kind of attention," she said during her book tour for her memoir 'Becoming' last year. 

"You learn that there are people in this scene who feel entitled to these things because they've done it for a while, and I hated that feeling. There are whole lot of people out here who are trying to make it, there are young women and immigrants and black folk."