Zalando celebrates inclusivity with 'Free to be' campaign

Spot features this month's Vogue cover star, Adwoa Aboah.

Fashion and lifestyle brand Zalando is celebrating the beginning of pumpkin spice season with its latest campaign, "Free to be", which aims to promote freedom of expression among its 28 million-strong customer base.

Created by Grey London, the 60-second spot features an eclectic range of inspirational figures, including gender-nonconforming model Rain Dove, teen ballet star Leroy Mokgatle (who was told he was too short to make it as a principal dancer), plus-sized model Felicity Hayward and supermodel/activist Adwoah Aboa, who recently gained acclaim on the cover of this month’s Vogue, as guest edited by Meghan Markle. 

The activity is part of Zalando's wider message of clothing confidence, as highlighted in the brand's summer campaign "Dress for yourself, nobody else".

"Ours has always been quite a playful, mischievous and disruptive brand," Jonny Ng, director of marketing strategy and campaigns at Zalando, said.

"The culture at Zalando is very inclusive, so therefore representation of different backgrounds is key to what makes us successful and innovative. Diversity for us isn’t just one-dimensional  it is age, background, body shape and ethnicity, as well as gender identity."

The spot launches on TV across 15 markets on Sunday (15 September) and is matched with a local voice in each country. It will be supported by partnerships with TikTok and Twitch. 

Zalando is also promoting its message of inclusivity through its sponsorship of London’s Queer Fashion Show, which is taking place in the V&A Museum of Childhood on 20 September.

Vicki Maguire, chief creative officer at Grey London, said: "Fashion is supposed to make you feel amazing, but a lot of the time it makes you feel the opposite, because the rules and regulations make you feel like shit. 

"The choice of our models  people who have been through their journey and have a story to tell  is really liberating. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

"'Free to be' is a stake in the ground of how fashion can make you feel."

The work was created by Sam Daly and Rob Greaves, art directed by Oksana Valentelis and directed by Georgia Hudson through Park Pictures.

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