Skip navigation
Obama dress
Date: 2016
Related People:
Medium: Sublimation-printed polyester, cording
Dimensions: Overall: 41 × 24 in. (104.1 × 61 cm)
Description: Dress with images of President and Mrs. Obama.
Credit Line: Gift of Kelly Jacobs
Object Number: 2016.42.1
Send to a Friend

Gallery Label:

Mississippi delegate Kelly Jacobs’ striking dress printed with images of Barack and Michelle Obama attracted considerable attention at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and garnered a photograph on the front page of the New York Times.

A community activist and four-time delegate from rural DeSoto County, Jacobs is a self-proclaimed "political fashionista" who wears her exuberant, homemade designs for strategic purposes: to make a bold statement and provide a conversation starter when registering voters, getting out the vote, and reminding her fellow citizens in Republican-dominated DeSoto County that they have voting options.

To create the attention-grabbing dress fabric, Jacobs appropriated a photograph taken by official White House photographer Pete Souza, manipulated its orientation and color, and then had the design custom printed. She purposefully used minimal silhouette shaping so that the images of Barack and Michelle Obama, seen in relaxed poses, remain the visual focus.