It used to be that political campaigns would be satisfied if they managed to settle on an eye-catching font for their T-shirts and trucker caps. The merchandise wasn't so much designed as it was stamped out like a pile of red, white and blue bunting. Political paraphernalia was mostly about the message -- not the aesthetics.
Now it is enthusiastically and abundantly about style. The Barack Obama campaign, which has been actively courting the fashion industry, has coordinated some 20 or so designers who are creating official merchandise for the candidate's Web site. It is the first time, as far as Seventh Avenue long-timers can recall, that a quorum of the fashion industry has organized its financial resources and creative energy around a single presidential candidate.