One Equal World

Barneys Casts Exclusively Transgender Models in Its ‘Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters’ Campaign

Posted on: February 11, 2014

Barneys' new fashion campaign is bold and brilliant.

Barneys’ new fashion campaign is bold and brilliant.
Image: aliciagriffin / Flickr CC

In a markedly progressive, inclusive move, clothing retailer Barneys New York has cast 17 transgender men and women as models in the brand’s upcoming spring 2014 campaign. The fashion campaign, called “Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters,” is an in-depth look at Barneys’ high end luxury pieces—but an even deeper look into the lives and experiences of the models wearing the garments.

According to Fashionista, “The luxury retailer has gone in an awesomely bold direction for its spring 2014 catalog and print ads, tapping Bruce Weber to photograph 17 transgender men and women from all over the world, and Vanity Fair’s Patricia Bosworth to interview each one.” The fashion spread will be featured in a portfolio accompanied by the personal stories of each model; the images can also be found in magazine advertisements, and on Barneys’ blog, The Window.

In addition, the campaign will feature several videos, also directed by Weber, in which the models talk openly about what it was like for them to come out and transition. In one of these short videos, two of the models from the campaign, Katie Hill and Arin Andrews, discuss the difficulty coming out to loved ones, and the complications that arise from transitioning. Arin, who documented much of his own transition in a video diary, explains, “I never made the decision to transition, I made the decision to be happy,” of finally coming out to his mother and finding a way to accept himself and live a healthy, happy life.

This clothing campaign is a phenomenal opportunity to address transgender identities in the world of fashion, and also to make the campaign models more relatable with the accompaniment of their personal stories. The LGBT community, and especially the trans* community, fights for media and social visibility every single day. “Brothers, Sisters, Sons & Daughters” is an opportunity to bring real transgender people and their stories to the forefront, and the fact that such an influential and world renowned brand is behind it, signals signs of progress.

To see photographs from the spring 2014 campaign and to meet the models, check out Barneys’ blog, The Window.

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