Balenciaga Campaign Finally Incorporates Some Diversity
On the tail end of June, Balenciaga released its first batch of photos promoting its Fall/Winter 2016 campaign. Recently, the rest of the shots, taken by Mark Borthwick and styled by Lotta Volkova, have been virtually floating down onto our timelines, newsfeeds, and explore pages.
A bit out of the norm, the campaign was shot in the streets of Paris— think less “romantic and treelined pathways” and more “alleyways with cracked cement.” The star of show is Achok Majak, who has a strong presence, showcasing Balenciaga’s new youthful look. The campaign is a contrast to Balenciaga’s recent aesthetic; creative director/ Vetements founder Demna Gvasalia sent an all-white cast of models down the runway to showcase his Fall/Winter 2016 collection, both for the storied fashion house and his own label.
@itniewh yeah that was extremely tone deaf and a sad moment
— Lorde (@lorde) May 15, 2016
Back in May, when asked about the lack of non-white female models, Gsvalia told The Telegraph that he and his stylist, Lotta Volkova, “come[s] from this cultural background where [race] is not even as issue. We don’t even have to that thing to think we have to be politically correct.” He then goes on to say that “it was attitude of those girls that was important for me, not the shade of their skin or their origin.” Cue eyeroll. Kate Finnigan, fashion feature director at Telegraph, noted that this point in their coversation was “the only time in the interview where Gvasalia [appeared] ruffled.”
Gvsalia seems to have sort of learned his lesson. He incorporated a handful of models of color into Vetements’ Spring/Summer 2017 collection. It’s not a huge number, but, hey, that’s six more than his last Balenciaga show!
If anything, Balenciaga’s decision to have Majok in the campaign is only a small step in the right direction. The light peppering of models of color in campaigns and on the runway is not enough to help turn around the diversity problem in fashion. As someone at the head of a prominent fashion house, as well as, a youthful, influential design collective, Gvasalia has the ability to make great changes in the industry. So, do more, everybody. There’s no more time to waste.
Stay tuned to Milk for calls for diversity in fashion.