Model Diversity in Latest Balmain Campaign

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Sarah G. Schmidt's home


While seeing the Balmain’s fall 2014 print campaign I had an implosion of joy wash over me. It was a mix of the striking fashion displayed with a range of models captured in mesmerizing print advertisements that got me going. After viewing, I took a deep breath in and an “ahhhhhh” exhale out. I thought to myself, “Yes he did.” Olivier Rousteing and the rest of the Balmain team showcased his latest designs in a series of print ads that feel confident, worldly and empowered. He features six models of varied background and colour. The Style.com exclusive notes that the models, Ysaunny Brito, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn,  Issa Lish, Kayla Scott and Binx Walton, hail from  a variety of countries: Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Mexico, and the U.S.

Rousteing’s dedication not only to the empowering designs but also to using his opportunity to showcase his collection through diverse model casting leaps off the dramatic page. My heart soars with glee. The same article quotes Rousteing elaborating on his collection by saying, “I’m French, I’m black, and I’m proud to be at Balmain, but this is a message of freedom and globalism.” Hooray.

You may ask why does diversity in fashion matter to me? Well, bluntly put, I am bored of seeing the same old same. I invite designers and brands to wake me up and shock me with something new not only with the fashion but the women and men who wear that fashion. I welcome designers and brands to show me, a consumer, their proposed future. Brands have the opportunity to create whatever products they like and for whomever. Do it then. Show me your vision. Try not to put me to sleep.

I argue by showcasing a variety of backgrounds in models it helps more people to identify it. Making representing a diverse mix of people a focus allows the view to consider, “Now that I see it on her I can see myself trying that.”  Or, “I want to try that.” This personal push for range stems from deep beliefs of mine: I want to be a person who is open, welcoming and celebrates differences in the way we look. I argue that by being a champion of “the other” it creates and fosters a safe place for those who are feeling left out to be let in. Beauty comes in such a variety of backgrounds and cultures and I, for one, am pleased to see it here. I believe it’s a powerful message the brand is creating.

The modern woman, to me, is one of varied background, supported by other women who likely have another background. I encourage a future where women come together to support and encourage other women. Men too, of course, and look damn good doing it.

My one critique or suggestion would be to showcase some size range in the models too. But for now, I’ll take what I can get. Thoughts?

It will be interesting to see who buys from the collection and if Balmain reports on that. I am curious if diversity sells, whether it be Balmain or otherwise, or not. A follow up memo on that is required and noted.