New York (CNN) - President Barack Obama put New York's top fashion designers to work Tuesday night in a bid to boost his reelection.
The Obama campaign fundraiser, which coincided with a GOP caucus and primary night, wasn't your typical get-together of moneyed Democrats looking to raise funds. More than 500 paying guests showed up to shop for the Obama gear, paying anywhere from $44 for a discounted ticket to $2,500 for a chance to have dinner with the event's organizers.
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The event, held at the upscale chain store Theory and co-hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and actress Scarlett Johansson, was lambasted in newspaper articles and on the web as an insensitive nod to luxury during tough economic times. In fact, there were suggestions the sale could violate campaign finance rules by selling designer label goods for a fraction of the price they would get at department stores.
The Obama campaign responded by pointing out the designers did the projects on their own time and thus did not violate campaign finance restrictions.
Earlier Tuesday, the Republican National Committee slammed Obama's campaign for holding the event, producing a web video listing off the designer goods and asserting, "With 12 million Americans struggling to find work in this weak economy, the optics of this high-end event featuring well-heeled celebrities flies in the face of President Obama's rhetoric."
Twenty-three top fashion designers put their touches on tote bags, shirts, pins and scarves Tuesday. The wares on display: $75 tote bags designed by Tory Burch and Diane Von Furstenburg, $45 t-shirts by Marc Jacobs, Beyonce, Sean John and Narciso Rodriguez, and polo shirts by Russell Simmons.
Many designers adorned their creations with their own unique take on the iconic red, white, and blue Obama logo.
Vera Wang created a tote bag with a heart-shaped design that placed an American flag under the name Obama. Wang told CNN she took part because she is "trying to be supportive of the economy that is in the middle of turning around."
Narciso Rodriguez designed a white t-shirt with blue sleeves and the Obama logo emblazoned across the chest. He took part in a similar event four years ago to support Obama.
"We need to move on to try to help Americans get back to work, anything that helps the economy everyone in fashion cares deeply," Rodriguez said.
In a press release, Johansson explained her participation by saying, "there is so much at stake in this campaign, 2012 will not be easy. We have to fight harder this time."
Susan Walsh waited in line to get inside for what would be her first fundraiser, and said she was doing it to help the president and to be around others excited about his campaign. Her friend bought two tickets for $200 each.