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Olivier Rousteing on BBC Newsnight
Olivier Rousteing on BBC Newsnightvia

Watch Olivier Rousteing talk diversity on BBC Newsnight

‘We’re going back to real bodies and real femininity, and that’s what I love’

When it comes to runway diversity, Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing is one of its biggest proponents. Yesterday the designer appeared on BBC Newnight to discuss the topic. “We’re going back to real bodies and real femininity, and that’s what I love,” he told the programme’s cultural correspondent Stephen Smith. “All my girls are different ages, different shapes, they can be young, they can be mum (sic), it just depends. I love showing a reality on my catwalk and I think we are going back to that.” Elsewhere in the interview he discusses his own experience of being a black designer in a predominantly white industry. “Sometimes we forget that fashion is a white world,” he said, “So I feel like I’ve been lucky, but at the same time I’ve worked so hard. I almost thank my past because my past has made me so strong today.

It’s not the first time he’s been outspoken about the importance of diversity in fashion. “(The) fashion industry can be sometimes run by older people or stubborn people,” he said during Dazed’s Facebook Q&A with the designer last year when asked why he thinks the industry is being slow to change. “It comes easy for me to bring diversity in fashion ‘cause what makes the world beautiful today is THE DIVERSITY #justlookaround and understand the world you live in.” But Rousteing practices what he preaches – Balmain’s shows and advertising campaigns are famously diverse, both in terms of race and age. At the SS16 show in September, 21 out of 58 looks were worn by models of colour whose ages ranged from 18 to (in the case of Adriana Lima and Alessandro Ambrosio) 34. 

Watch Olivier Rousteing on Newsnight below: