Olivier Rousteing hopes to change the mentality of diversity in the fashion industry

With diverse muses on his campaigns and catwalks, the French designer hopes the fashion industry realises modernity is not about the clothes

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, had a rough start. Having been adopted at the age of one by white parents, determined him to fight for diversity in the fashion industry.

In a recent interview with CNN, the 29-year-old French designer with razor cheek bones explains that in the world we live now, diversity is “the most important topic”.

“I realised I was different from the moment I was 11-year-old and from this moment I said ‘I’m going to fight for diversity’.

“I don’t know where I come from, and I still don’t know, but with fashion I could identify myself to something.”

His renowned Balmain campaigns have featured a wide variety of models and artists from the worlds of music and TV, from Rihanna to Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne and Binx Walton.

“I choose all those muses that actually are really different, really modern,” he tells CNN

Kylie and Kendall Jenner in a Balmain campaing featuring famous sisters

“I wanna dress different girls, different women,” he explains. “For example Kim, she’s powerful, she represent the new family.”

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is Rousteing’s close friend and one of his biggest muses, having made numerous appearances on the front row of his shows, been spotted wearing Balmain regularly and featured on his campaigns (alongside her husband Kanye West). 


He’s just casted a diversity of models for his eagerly-anticipated Balmain x H&M campaign, which features Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn.

“I think we forget that the present and the future is more inspiring than the past.”

The Parisian fashion house appointed the designer at 26, but he reveals to be surprised that rather than his young age, it was his colour what made the news, as he was the first black designer in a heritage fashion house. 

“People think modernity is about clothes, but I think the real modernity is about diversity.

“I hope I can change the mentality… Diversity should be a topic for all the creative people.”