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Inauguration Fashion Puts Spotlight On American Designers, Women's Suffrage

From left to right: Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and Joe Biden as they arrive at the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration.
Joe Raedle
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Getty Images
From left to right: Doug Emhoff, Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and Joe Biden as they arrive at the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration.

Both President Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff wore suits designed by the American fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Vice President Harris wore Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson, two black designers originally from Baton Rouge, La., and South Carolina, respectively.

Jill Biden is wearing a blue coat and dress by Alexandra O'Neill, originally from Colorado, who designs for Markarian, based in New York City.

The fashion choices represent a return to elevating American-made designs, and lift up both young designers and two designers of color. Several of the women attending the inauguration — including Harris, former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — are donning the color purple, which is a color of the women's suffrage movement.

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Elissa Nadworny reports on all things college for NPR, following big stories like unprecedented enrollment declines, college affordability, the student debt crisis and workforce training. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she traveled to dozens of campuses to document what it was like to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. Her work has won several awards including a 2020 Gracie Award for a story about student parents in college, a 2018 James Beard Award for a story about the Chinese-American population in the Mississippi Delta and a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in innovation.