Kenneth Cole: Andreja Pejić is courageous
Designer Kenneth Cole chose Andreja Pejić to front his latest campaign after being inspired by her courage.
The Australian model began life as a male called Andrej before undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2014. Since then she has broken boundaries in the fashion industry, becoming the first transgender model profiled by Vogue as well as landing a beauty campaign with Make Up For Ever.
Designer Kenneth noticed the star's impact and was quick to choose Andreja for his The Courageous Class campaign.
“The Courageous Class is an idea born of the brand’s legacy as an aspirational, urban style brand with a fearless voice for social justice that empowers many to 'Look good, for good,'" he explained to The Hollywood Reporter's Pret-a-Reporter.
“I had been introduced to Andreja through my work with amfAR and I was immediately inspired by her story and her courage."
There are other faces in the ads, which Kenneth also dubs "real life heroes". Each individual has overcome a personal challenge in order to fulfil their dreams and Kenneth views them as protagonists in their own right.
Photographer Glen Luchford shot the campaign, with Andreja seen donning a long leather coat while holding a small bag in a black-and-white snap. The blonde beauty thinks the lens expert did a great job capturing the powerful theme.
“There was a big emphasis on our story and what we stood for, and that was really cool,” she added. “Kenneth Cole wanted to celebrate us rather than focus on the product... I loved the combination of fashion film and interview - there is no reason we can’t be stylish, cool and do good in this world. In fact, the two should go hand in hand.”
She hopes people will see the humanity of the stars in the ads, including herself, and drop any stereotypes they may hold.