Gillean Mcleod

Style = ageless

H&M are back at it again with the amazing ad campaigns.

Seriously, season after season the high-street favourite amaze me with their commitment to casting diverse models in terms of race, age, size, sexuality and ability. In no way am I promoting tokenism in the fight for diversity in fashion, but if H&M had a list of boxes to tick, they’d need a fresh sheet pretty damn soon.

In their latest video campaign, H&M tapped British-Indian model Neelam Gill, Lion Babe’s Jillian Hervey, transgender model Hari Nef, boxer Fatima Pinto, supermodel Lauren Hutton, Arvida Byström and more. The message? No matter your body type, age, style, size and hair texture, we’re all ladies. Watch it below.

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This comes after Ashley Graham, Soo Joo Park and Karly Loyce took on luxe textures for H&M Studio AW16. Ashley is one of the most famous plus-size models in the industry, transcending size barriers to become a super in her own right, and then there’s Soo Joo, L’Oreal’s first Asian American spokeswoman and all-round catwalk killa. Karly Loyce brings her signature strength to the campaign, rounding out an effortlessly diverse set of images. This is how you do diversity without it feeling token.  

Ashley Graham for H&M Studio AW16

Soo Joo Park for H&M Studio AW16

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Before H&M Studio AW16, Gillean McLeod, a 60-year-old stylist, starred in H&M’s Cool Girls in Cute Swimwear spread – because who says cool stops in your thirties? Another model cast in the shoot told H&M that McLeod started modelling after a client suggested she stopped styling and started posing in the shoot instead. The rest, as they say, is history (and high fashion). McLeod’s top tip for buying a swimsuit with confidence? ‘If you’re comfortable in it, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like’. Get it, Gillean!    

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In response to the swimwear feature, a rep for H&M told Refinery29 ‘It feels natural to have a diverse range of women wearing our swimwear since it reflects our values, our colleagues, and our customers. This is our reality: H&M is all about inclusiveness’.

For their recent H&M Sport campaign, H&M cast black Brit model Betty Adewole to front their For Every Victory campaign, which also featured Caitlyn Jenner (in case you’ve been living under a rock, she’s the ex-Kardashian transgender icon), Chelsea Werner (a gymnast who suffers with Downs Syndrome) and Cuban boxer Namibia Flores. Bad. Ass.  

All of this comes after H&M’s trailblazing Close The Loop campaign, which featured plus-size sensation Tess Holliday, Sikh fashion blogger Pardeep Singh of Singh Street Style and Muslim fashion blogger Mariah Idrissi, as well as models with underarm hair, athletes and amputees. You can re-watch Close The Loop here. 

Seriously, H&M, keep on doing what you’re doing. It’s 2016, and we shouldn’t still be fighting for the fair representation of minorities in fashion media. You lead the way.