Burberry's new campaign reflects UK's ethnic diversity

By Jasmine Chorley Foster

Burberry campaigns always offer a fascinating peak into casting trends, as well as a major coup in any models career. The lucky few are as follows: male models Leo Dobson and Callum Ball, actor Jamie Campbell Bower, female models Matilda Lowther, Neelam Johal, Malaika Firth, and Jean Campbell.

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Malaika has had an enviable year, including a Prada campaign and the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. However, her female co-workers are comparatively unknown. 

Matilda had a great season this fall walking for the likes of Hermes and Burberry, but this is her first big campaign. 

Jean Campbell appeared in her first editorial (shot by Bruce Weber none the less) in October's British Vogue and is the daughter of former Vogue editor Isabella Cawdor.

Neelam is the ultimate darkhorse, having made her debut at the Burberry show this fall, with no discernible previous experience.

British Vogue noted that Christopher Bailey says that these men and women epitomise next season's "distinctly English mood." The ethnic diversity certainly does. According to the 2011 British census, the country is still 87% White, but the South Asian and African populations are sizeable (7% and 3% respectively). 

The youthful, romantic collection is entitled "English Rose," a word denoting a very specifically English beauty ideal: a young woman with pale skin, rosy cheeks, little make-up, and natural hair.

Clearly, this term excludes non-white women by it's very definition. But the cast of this campaign broadens the term, and invites the viewer to re-assess what it means to be beautiful, and indeed what it means to be British.