Primark praised for featuring teen with vitiligo in new campaign

Marie Claire Dorking
People are praising Primark for featuring a model with vitiligo [Photo: Primark]
People are praising Primark for featuring a model with vitiligo [Photo: Primark]

Primark has been receiving all the props for setting a brilliant example to other fashion brands by featuring a young boy with vitiligo its latest clothing campaign.

The teenage model appears in the brand’s latest campaign for their casual activewear for children and teenagers and people have been taking to social media to praise Primark for their decision to feature a more inclusive range of models.

The retailer has also been praised by Changing Faces, a charity supporting and representing children, young people and adults who have a visible difference to the face, hands or body.

The organisation received an overwhelming response after sharing an image of the campaign to their Facebook page.

“We are thrilled to see that Primark are working with models with visible differences,” a spokesperson for the charity said in a statement on their website.

“Young people often tell us that they never see themselves represented in the media, or in mainstream culture and how this can have a huge impact on their self-esteem. Ensuring that people with visible differences are seen and heard across the fashion industry, in the media and in public life is so important.

“The overwhelmingly positive response to this campaign shows that featuring more people with visible differences can help to address the stigma around ‘looking different’ and emphasise that true beauty is about being proud to be yourself.

“Primark are setting a brilliant example and we want to see more mainstream brands working with real people of all appearances so that fashion is truly accessible to all. We would love to work with brands on inclusive campaigns that give people with visible differences the opportunity to be part of the fashion world.”

And people were quick to offer their own opinions on the inclusive campaign.

“Well done Primark! I wish I had his body confidence, I spend my life hiding my vitiligo and I’m 32,” one woman wrote.

“Well done and hope other big retailers will follow. Beautiful,” another agreed.

According to the NHS vitiligo is a long-term condition where pale white patches develop on the skin. It’s caused by the lack of melanin, a pigment in the skin.

“Melanin is produced by skin cells called melanocytes, and it gives your skin its colour,” the site explains.

“In vitiligo, there aren’t enough working melanocytes to produce enough melanin in your skin. This causes white patches to develop on your skin or hair. It’s not clear exactly why the melanocytes disappear from the affected areas of skin.”

Vitiligo can affect any area of skin, but most commonly occurs on the face, neck and hands, and in skin creases.

“The condition varies from person to person,” the NHS site explains. “Some people only get a few small, white patches, but others get bigger white patches that join up across large areas of their skin.”

According to the Vitiligo Society it is estimated that the condition affects 1% of the population, but they also believe a figure of 2% may now be more accurate as the condition is more widely publicised and more people are being diagnosed.

Primark isn’t the only retailer who have made strides to be more inclusive of late. Last year River Island revealed a campaign starring six super sweet children, all of whom have a disability.

Last September Marks and Spencer won praise from parents for releasing a new clothing line designed specifically for children with disabilities and those who need extra help when it comes to dressing.

And back in 2017 a toddler with Down’s syndrome became one of the new faces of Matalan’s children’s wear.

Adult fashion has also been taking steps to be more diverse in their advertising recently. Last September disabled models took to the catwalk for LFW and at PFW Alexander McQueen saw two curvy models rock its runway for the very first time.

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