Burberry Hires Its First Indian Model, Fashion Fans Rejoice In The Name Of Diversity


What’s this? A high fashion luxury brand thinking outside the box to possibly include a more varied type of customer base? Say it isn’t so! The latest brand to diversify it’s look is Burberry. They have hired their very first Indian model, Neelam Johal, 18, from the UK.

She is the face of their Spring/Summer 2014 campaign, and has also walked the runway for the label in September 2013 during London Fashion Week. Being the very first Indian face of the British label, which has been around since 1856 this is a big deal and says a lot about the future of luxury brands.

Her story has been covered by Vogue Magazine, Teen Vogue, Elle Magazine and even the local paper in her home town of Coventry. While she is based in London now, this Indian beauty has now become an accidental role model for many other young ethnic women.

“I’ve had such a lot of positive feedback. I get girls tweeting me and saying, ‘Thank you so much for showing me that you can be Indian and work in fashion for a Western brand’ – not just modelling Indian things.

“This is just a really happy time for me at the moment.” she told the Coventry Telegraph.


Neelam joins supermodels such as Kate Moss and Cara Delevigne who are also Burberry models. She started modeling at the age of 14, and after walking in the Burberry show last September, she was taken aback by the stir she caused.

“Before doing the show, it didn’t really cross my mind,” she says. “But afterwards I went on Style.com and was looking through the pictures, and I realized that I was the only Indian model.”

Neelam, who now goes by Neelam Gill, told Teen Vogue that the significance of a big brand promoting different ethnicities is certainly not lost on her.

“Fashion reaches all different ethnicities, and the market is so wide now that customers truly aren’t going to be just one skin tone,” she says. “I’m really happy that I’m working for a company that embraces diversity, especially because Burberry’s a British brand and they realize that being British doesn’t just mean being white.”

While modeling is her focus right now, Neelam recently graduated high school and has plans to study psychology in the future, but wants to ride this wave a little first. In the future she wants to model for brands such as Chanel and Victoria’s Secret, and we have no doubt her career is going to soar.

It’s great to see the fashion industry making drastic changes and trying to give the customers what they want, rather than dictating what we should like. We need more diverse and ethnic role models like Neelam in the industry to show other young women that their appearance should never be a barrier to achieving your dreams.




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