A California-based street artist says that she created the ‘TAX THE RICH’ design that House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore on her expensive dress when she attended Monday’s $35,000-per-ticket Met Gala in New York.
The artist who goes by the moniker The Velvet Bandit posted photos on Instagram showing Ocasio-Cortez being prepped for the evening by designer Aurora James.
The words ‘TAX THE RICH’ appear in red letters on the back of the white dress.
The slogan and its red-lettered all-caps font looks quite similar to the design that appears in artwork by The Velvet Bandit, who says that it went viral on TikTok before Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance at the gala.
But the artist is not holding a grudge – and has offered to collaborate with AOC.
The socialist lawmaker from New York, James, and their partners attended the event as guests of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A California-based street artist says that she created the ‘TAX THE RICH’ design that House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (seen left with designer Aurora James before Monday’s event in Manhattan) wore on her expensive dress when she attended Monday’s $35,000-per-ticket Met Gala in New York
On her Instagram account, she posted photos showing the same ‘TAX THE RICH’ slogan printed on a face covering worn by a cartoon character meant to depict President Abraham Lincoln
Stickers of the Lincoln face covering are pictured in several locations
‘Look familiar? @aoc stepped out at the Met Gala wearing a dress designed by @aurorajames that looks hella similar to my design,’ The Velvet Bandit wrote on her Instagram page. ‘All of my pasteups are handpainted, and after my Tax the Rich I put up in Sausalito went viral on Tiktok, I began selling stickers and shirts. And low and behold, this dress bears the same likeness as my handwriting’
On her Instagram account, she posted photos showing the same ‘TAX THE RICH’ slogan printed on a face covering worn by a cartoon character meant to depict President Abraham Lincoln.
Stickers of the Lincoln face covering are pictured in several locations.
‘Look familiar? @aoc stepped out at the Met Gala wearing a dress designed by @aurorajames that looks hella similar to my design,’ The Velvet Bandit wrote on her Instagram page.
‘All of my pasteups are handpainted, and after my Tax the Rich I put up in Sausalito went viral on Tiktok, I began selling stickers and shirts.
AOC is seen with her date, boyfriend Riley Roberts. It was learned on Tuesday that the congresswoman and her partner were invited guests of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
AOC with her boyfriend Riley Roberts (far right), her dress designer Aurora James and Benjamin Bronfman (far left), James’ partner who is the heir to Seagrams Company Ltd. The group was pictured leaving at midnight
Before the gala, AOC got ready at The Carlyle hotel on the Upper East Side, where rooms cost upwards of $1,000-a-night. She was escorted to a chauffer-driven car, with someone carrying the train of her dress, and she waved to screaming fans as she left the hotel
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends the lavish Met gala wearing a ‘TAX THE RICH’ dress. She boasted on Tuesday morning about increasing the number of people searching the words ‘Tax the Rich’
AOC poses in her ‘Tax The Rich’ dress while movie star Megan Fox waits behind her. AOC attended the event with designer Aurora James in what she claims was a political protest
‘And low and behold, this dress bears the same likeness as my handwriting.’
The artist added: ‘I admire both of these women greatly, and I would love nothing more than to collaborate with them in some way.
‘I’m a full time lunch lady and single mom, which doesn’t leave me much time in my day to try and reach famous people to hit me up.’
The Velvet Bandit asked her fans on Instagram to share her artwork so that it would reach Ocasio-Cortez and James because ‘they need to work with me!’
‘They need a female street artist working on their team, dontcha think? It would be an honor.
‘Obviously they have fabulous taste.
‘Together we could take over the world and this s*** hole we’re currently living in could be so much better.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to The Velvet Bandit for comment. No word yet as to whether Ocasio-Cortez will take her up on her offer.
The 31-year-old socialist firebrand attended the event with her boyfriend Riley Roberts after getting ready at The Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side.
On Tuesday morning, AOC boasted about the surge in Google searches for the words ‘tax the rich’.
She wrote on Instagram: ‘Surge in people looking up and discussing our f****d up tax code is and how we fix it so we can fund childcare, healthcare, climate action and student loan forgiveness for all? Aurora James understood the assignment.’
But she has been slammed for supporting the event by many who say she simply wanted to enjoy the limelight while trying to pass it off as a political protest in yet another example of her tone-deaf hypocrisy.
AOC, who previously posed on the cover of Vanity Fair, drives a $35,000 Tesla and claims to be ‘100% grass roots from the Bronx’ despite growing up in a wealthy NYC suburb.
She wore a borrowed dress from Brother Vellies, James’ celebrity-adored NYC label.
The only jewelry she wore was a pair of $450 gold hoops from Mejuri and a $65 ring from the same brand.
She didn’t wear a mask, like many of the other guests.
The event was for fully vaccinated guests only but the celebrities in attendance – who regularly preach online about COVID rules – ignored the guidance of the CDC and liberal states like California, where masks are recommended indoors regardless of vaccination status.
In a proud Instagram post about the event and her choice of outfit, AOC said: ‘The medium is the message. Proud to work with Aurora James as a sustainably focused, Black woman immigrant designer who went from starting her dream Brother Vellies at a flea market in Brooklyn to winning the CDFA against all odds – and then work together to kick open the doors at the Met. The time is now for childcare, healthcare, and climate action for all. Tax the Rich.
‘And yes, BEFORE anybody starts wilding out – NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public.
‘I was one of several in attendance. Dress is borrowed via Brother Vellies.’
In a statement in a press release by Brother Vellies, AOC said: ‘There’s no way I’d be doing this if it wasn’t with a woman of color and with the intent to grow the table and empower women that look like me.
‘Despite being held in New York City, the culture of the Met Gala is everything but.
‘NYC is often synonymous with inclusivity, inviting millions of people from different walks of life to call this city home.
‘The Met Gala, on the other hand, is seen as elite and inaccessible. I’m attending today because I want to change just that and spotlight women of color who are often not included during events like these.’
Donald Trump Jr led the criticism, blasting AOC as a ‘fraud’ while pointing out that she was also not wearing a face mask ‘after spending the last 18 months as one of the biggest mask Karens in the country’.
Andray Domise, a writer and partner in black news network Rezistans Nwa, also pointed out that the gala was taking place just yards from where the NYPD were arresting ‘defund the police’ protesters – a cause that AOC has previously supported.
‘Police were creasing people’s heads outside while you and your friends were nibbling watermelon tarts with smoked yuzu soy on panipuri crackers,’ he said
Greg Price, a writer for the Daily Caller, added: ‘AOC grew up in a wealthy suburb, went to one of the most expensive colleges in America, makes a six figure salary, drives a Tesla, lives above a whole foods, and is currently at an event that costs more to attend than America’s average personal income.’
Actor and comedian Michael Rappaport also weighed in. He shared a picture of AOC in a dress fitting session and captioned it: ‘Custom TAX THE RICH dress while at the most elitist event in the world.
‘Will soon be rich with a ginormous production deal from somewhere & done with Politics, guarantee it.
‘Stop treating ANY of these people like celebrities they are public servants that work for US.’
As she made her Met Gala debut, AOC will have passed crowds of BLM protesters clashing with police outside the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
AOC yelling out on the steps of the Met Gala before going inside to mingle with the well-heeled, ultra wealthy guests
Brothers Vellies, James’ luxury brand, is often worn by celebrities such as Beyoncé, Meghan Markle, Zendaya, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, according to the brand’s website.
It is AOC’S first time attending the gala, but her political message has already drawn controversy during this year’s ‘In America: A Lexicon of Fashion’ exhibit. It was also James’ gala dress debut.
James and Ocasio-Cortez said they were inspired by their experiences as working women of color to make the political statement at the Met gala.
James is the founder of the 15percent Pledge, a nonprofit that asks brands to ‘pledge 15percent of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.’
She designs mostly accessories and shoes listed on her brand’s website retail around the $600 and $700 mark.
AOC has been very vocal in the past about her stance on taxing millionaires.
In 2019 she advocated raising taxes to 70 percent for the wealthy in order to fund measures against climate change.
‘As a working class woman, [I] wanted to enjoy the event but also break the fourth wall and challenge the industry, Ocasio-Cortez told Vogue.
‘When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we started having a conversation about what it means to be working class women of color at the Met.
‘And we said, you know, we can’t just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall, and challenge some of the institutions.
‘And while the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it,’ she added.
In a 2019 tweet, AOC wrote: When we say ‘tax the rich,’ we mean nesting-doll yacht rich. For-profit prison rich. Betsy DeVos, student-loan-shark rich.
‘Trick-the-country-into-war rich. Subsidizing-workforce-w-food-stamps rich.
‘Because THAT kind of rich is simply not good for society, & it’s like 10 people.’
There was also uproar over the fact that the celebrities on the red carpet were not wearing masks but teachers and kindergarteners in public schools have to.
‘Do as I say, NOT as I do. NYC mayor makes every single NYC public school student and teacher mask up all day in school.
‘Guess the Met Gala ain’t considered school,’ said one angry Twitter user after seeing Mayor Bill de Blasio without his mask, attending the event with his wife and his son.