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April 19 2014

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Barneys Features Transgender Models In Spring Campaign

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Barneys Spring '14 CampaignCall us optimistic, but we’ve seen change for the better in the Spring ’14 campaigns. Rather than opting for the expected slim, Caucasian catwalkers, major brands are taking the road that’s been historically less traveled, casting models of all shapes, sizes, colors, and beyond. Riccardo Tisci, for instance, brought Givenchy to the front of the ongoing race-in-fashion conversation by tapping neo-soul star Erykah Badu for the house’s Spring ads. Nicola Formichetti championed the beauty of a 26-year-old blogger with muscular dystrophy in his latest campaign, and now Barneys has released its Spring snaps, which star seventeen transgender models. Dubbed Brothers, Sisters, Sons, and Daughter, the Bruce Weber-lensed ads mark Barneys’ collaboration with two organizations: the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. Ten percent of sales made on February 11 at Barneys’ flagship stores and Web site will go to said initiatives. Barneys creative director Dennis Freedman told WWD that the choice to feature transgender models had “a lot to do with the realization that such extraordinary progress has been made in the last few years for the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community, but it’s striking how the transgender community has been left behind. It’s disturbing and upsetting to see that.” Is there a big marketing element behind brands’ decisions to stray from the norm? Probably–but who cares. It doesn’t take away from the fact that key companies are celebrating individuality in all forms. We have to mention, though, that Riccardo Tisci included transgender model Lea T in Givenchy’s ads back in 2010—that Riccardo, always ahead of the game.

Photo: Bruce Weber, via WWD

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