Style bloggers starring in international fashion campaigns is no longer a new thing, but this one is a little different. Italian fashion label Diesel picked 26-year old Jillian Mercado to be one of the faces of their Spring/Summer 2014 campaign. On her personal blog MANUFACTURED 1987 Jillian writes about style and trends. She is also the executive editorial director of We the Urban digital magazine. But the thing that has the style world abuzz, is that Jillian was born with spastic muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair.
With artistic director Nicola Formichetti, Diesel has been working on a reboot of their brand. For the new Spring ad campaign, to be published in Vogue and Interview in March, he cast 23 people, most of whom are not professional models. Formichetti told Women’s Wear Daily that it “was much more about the group, the gang, the tribe, the community. The people got to us in different ways but they’re connected visually, physically, mentally and denim is the thing that unites all of them. And that’s the theme and the tag line — We Are Connected.”
Jillian, who knew Formichetti through work, entered an open casting call with some friends but never expected to be selected. Over the last few years, the fashion industry has been making an effort to embrace a wider range of beauty, but there is still a long way to go. In The Guardian, Jillian said:
“People should have an open mind. If I’m helping to make it move forward, that’s awesome. It means so much to me because it’s the fact that someone who is different is representing Diesel. [It shows] anyone can rock the clothes and look beautiful. For me it represents way more than just a campaign. A lot of people will see it and will have a change of mind of how they see people who have a disability.”
Here is some additional coverage of this story from around the web: