Supermodel Naomi Campbell wants to help young fashion designers to show off their work online.
“I want to do a platform because not everyone can go to these big fashion weeks around the world and put money into showing their product,” she said at a Cannes Lions panel Wednesday, mentioning designers she’s seen in Africa. “So there has to be another way … building a platform for the young emerging designers that don’t have a way to show their work, and invite online stores to come in and see, and help them grow.”
Campbell, who organizes Fashion for Relief shows to benefit Save the Children and other charities, added: “What matters in my legacy that I leave is that I’ve done enough for models of color and diversity. That’s what kept me here for so long is that I don’t feel — I haven’t felt — that it’s right … For years [diversity] has been this afterthought and it should just be a thought along with everything else.”
Campbell’s concerned a current wave of diversity in fashion could be fleeting.
“It can’t be a trend,” she said. “It can’t go backwards again. We have to stay and keep going forwards. That’s my worry.”
She recalled a time in her career when she was rejected by French Vogue because they had never put a black woman on the cover. She said she went to Yves Saint Laurent, who threatened to pull ads, and she landed the cover in 1988.
“My life has been a challenge, but I’ve loved that. I’ve used that to drive me,” she said. “I’ve never played a victim to any of this. It gives me energy to say ‘OK, that didn’t happen that way, I’ll find another way.’”
She also tackled pay disparity in an unusual circumstance. “When I did Playboy they said, ‘She can’t get the same money as Cindy Crawford,’” Campbell recalled. “My lawyer said, ‘Why?’ And they said, ‘because Naomi’s t–s are smaller.’ I was like, ‘So what? I’m built differently.’”