In the past year we’ve seen one of reality television’s most recognisable faces Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner identify as transgender, the world’s first transgender modelling agency open and a handful of highly visible brands choose transgender men and women to represent them in big budget ad campaigns.
I think it’s safe to say 2015 is the year transgender issues were thrust into the public’s collective consciousness and told to listen up.
But what have we heard so far? In marketing, we’ve seen transgender model Lea T go from modelling for Givenchy and Phillip Plein to become the face of Redken. Transgender teen Jazz Jennings became the face of Clean & Clear’s #seetherealme campaign in March and luxury department store Barney’s New York featured 17 transgender people photographed by Bruce Weber for its Spring 2014 campaign. Meanwhile, Andrej Pejic secured a beauty contract with Makeup Forever in July.
Now, the latest brand to release its Autumn/Winter 15 campaign is H&M-owned & Other Stories and it stars transgender models Valentijn De Hingh and Hari Nef. Not only that but the campaign also featured a transgender photographer, stylist and makeup artist production crew.
Now my – and I’m sure many people’s – initial reaction was one of concern. Was using a full roster of transgender talent and production in a fashion campaign exploiting the community as part of a marketing gimmick?
However, & Other Stories were quick to explain the importance of hiring a team whose personal experience could best help them tell a story challenging the traditional notion of beauty and identity.
By casually giving meaning and depth to a campaign, in an industry known for its objectification and narrow view of beauty, & Other Stories comes across as an intelligent and thoughtful retailer voicing its support at an important moment in LGBT history.
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This post first appeared on wgsn.com/blogs