Person

Bob Bland

Nationality:

American

Full Name:

Mari Lynn Bland

Birthplace:

Washington, D.C.

Occupation:

Fashion Designer,

Entrepreneur

Left-Wing Political Activist

Co-Chair:

Women’s March, 2017-2019

Mari Lynn “Bob” Bland is a fashion designer and left-wing activist best known as a co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March and a former board member of Women’s March, Inc. Her activism has drawn controversy by her attacks on white women who continue to support Republicans. In addition to her work with the Women’s March, she serves as speaker to other feminist and far-left causes.

In July 2019, Bland, Linda Sarsour, and Tamika Mallory stepped down from the board of Women’s March due to controversy surrounding Mallory’s ties to anti-Semitic black nationalist Louis Farrakhan and accusations of financial mismanagement. [1]

Early Life

Bland was born in Washington, D.C., to two public schoolteachers.[2] At age 8, she began sewing. Her first fashion show was 32 pieces presented in the school cafeteria. [3]

She attended the Savannah College of Art and Design. While in college she was a youth minister. As a minister, her goal as to “reach out to people and show them what Christ’s love is.”[4]

In 2009, she married Michael Foulger. They have two daughters, one born in 2011 and another in 2016.

Fashion Design Career

Bland moved to Manhattan in 2003 to pursue a design career. Her career took her to work for leading companies such as Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic, and Ralph Lauren. [5]

She moved to the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn in 2005. She setup her own label, Brooklyn Royalty, in 2006 with the goal of producing garments in New York City. [6]

After her marriage, she moved to Philadelphia. She would later move back to New York City after finding out that she was unable to find manufacturers for her clothing. [7]

In 2012, Bland founded Manufacture New York in Manhattan’s Garment District, which would be a space for independent designers and manufacturers to design and produce clothing in New York City. Bland solicited and received numerous grants from local and federal agencies to create her company.[8] She later moved the business to Brooklyn.[9]

Political Activism

Bland first became famous for her political activism after the 2013 Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh. A decrepit factory building collapsed killing 1,133 garment workers. Bland wrote an op-ed in 2014 for the website Real Clear Politics calling for an “onshoring” of American clothing manufacturing. She believed that onshoring clothing production would increase the standards of workers all around the world.[10]

In the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, she supported self-described socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and even made a small donation to his campaign.[11] She would later support Hillary Clinton after Sanders was defeated in the Democratic primaries.

Women’s March

Also see Women’s March Inc. (Nonprofit)

After the election of Donald Trump as president, Bland founded the Women’s March with Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour. “We need to challenge anyone who is not standing up for marginalized communities, including women, people of color, and those who have been incarcerated. We need to make sure that it’s possible to see a reflection [of those views] in leadership.” said Bland.[12]

Bland’s Manufacture New York also began supporting branded clothing for left-wing activists, backing brands that were promoting anti-Trump apparel such as “Nasty Woman” T-shirts and “RESIST” sweatpants. [13]

In 2017, Bland, while criticizing a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, rhetorically attacked white women in general. “Whether they voted for Trump or not, all white women benefit from white supremacy just by virtue of being white.” Bland said. She also called on white women to speak out against hate.[14]

In 2018, Bland called on white women to “vote against white supremacy” by voting Democratic in an op-ed. “At the polls on Tuesday, white women have a lot of toxic history to answer for. In the 2016 presidential election, in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race in 2017, and throughout U.S. history, we’ve rejected equity in favor of proximity to bigoted power structures.” Bland wrote.[15]

References

  1. Lang, Marissa J. “Women’s March Replaces Three Original Leaders, after Anti-Semitism Accusations, with 16 Board Members.” The Washington Post. WP Company, September 16, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2019/09/16/womens-march-cutting-ties-with-three-original-board-members-accused-anti-semitism/?arc404=true. ^
  2. Warrington, Ruby. 2013. “Manufacture New York Provides Production Facilities To Independent Designers”. Nytimes.Com. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/fashion/manufacturer-new-york-provides-production-facilities-to-independent-designers.html?pagewanted=all. ^
  3. “Bob Bland Spices Up Fashion Incubator”. 2013. Crain’s New York Business. https://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20131208/RETAIL_APPAREL/312089976/bob-bland-spices-up-fashion-incubator. ^
  4. Lackey, Angela E. 2005. “A Road Trip For Jesus”. Midland Daily News. https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/A-road-trip-for-Jesus-7043448.php. ^
  5. Warrington, Ruby. 2013. “Manufacture New York Provides Production Facilities To Independent Designers”. Nytimes.Com. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/fashion/manufacturer-new-york-provides-production-facilities-to-independent-designers.html?pagewanted=all. ^
  6. Warrington, Ruby. 2013. “Manufacture New York Provides Production Facilities To Independent Designers”. Nytimes.Com. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/fashion/manufacturer-new-york-provides-production-facilities-to-independent-designers.html?pagewanted=all. ^
  7. “160K Square Foot Fashion Manufacturing Center In Sunset Park”. 2014. Technical.Ly Brooklyn. https://technical.ly/brooklyn/2014/02/20/bob-bland-brooklyn-manufacturing/. ^
  8. Warrington, Ruby. 2013. “Manufacture New York Provides Production Facilities To Independent Designers”. Nytimes.Com. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/fashion/manufacturer-new-york-provides-production-facilities-to-independent-designers.html?pagewanted=all. ^
  9. “160K Square Foot Fashion Manufacturing Center In Sunset Park”. 2014. Technical.Ly Brooklyn. https://technical.ly/brooklyn/2014/02/20/bob-bland-brooklyn-manufacturing/. ^
  10. Bland, Bob. 2014. “When Cheap Fashion Kills, How Do We Go Forward?”. Realclearpolitics.Com. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/24/when_cheap_fashion_kills_how_do_we_go_forward_122389.html. ^
  11. “Browse Individual Contributions – FEC.Gov”. 2018. FEC.Gov. Accessed November 10. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2016&contributor_name=Mari+Foulger&min_date=01%2F01%2F2015&max_date=12%2F31%2F2016. ^
  12. Henry, Zoe. 2018. “How An Entrepreneur’s Post-Election Facebook Rant Led To The Women’s March”. Inc.Com. https://www.inc.com/zoe-henry/women-s-march-co-founder-startup-of-a-lifetime.html. ^
  13. Henry, Zoe. 2018. “How An Entrepreneur’s Post-Election Facebook Rant Led To The Women’s March”. Inc.Com. https://www.inc.com/zoe-henry/women-s-march-co-founder-startup-of-a-lifetime.html. ^
  14. Cooney, Samantha. 2017. “Women’s March Co-President Bob Bland Says White Women Need To ‘Take A Seat’ After Charlottesville”. Time. http://time.com/4900380/bob-bland-womens-march-charlottesville/. ^
  15. Bland, Bob. 2018. “Bob Bland: It’s Time For White Women To Vote Out White Supremacy”. Rewire.News. https://rewire.news/article/2018/11/05/bob-bland-its-time-for-white-women-to-vote-out-white-supremacy/. ^

Connected Organizations

  1. Women’s March (National) (Non-profit)
    Former Co-President
  See an error? Let us know!