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'She's beautiful, she looks like me' - why River Island's new ad campaign REALLY matters

One mum's reaction to the brand's new ad campaign...

Leanne Bayley

In case you've been hiding under a rock, River Island has received lots of praise for its new AW18 ad campaign embracing individuality through fashion and self-expression. Following the hugely successful Labels Are For Clothes message, the brand is still hell-bent on championing diversity and body positivity alongside the leading international anti-bullying charity Ditch The Label. In the new campaign, shot by world renowned photographer Liz Collins, you'll find a diverse cast of individuals, all inspiring and stylish as each other. One star in particular is Kathleen Humberstone, an 18-year-old model born with with Down's Syndrome. Her mantra is "Love your life, embrace your differences," and describes herself as being a "diva, chatty, dramatic and extroverted."

Kathleen is River Island's poster girl for 100% Style Queen

HELLO! spoke to mum Stacey Grennell, who's 16-year-old daughter also has Down's Syndrome. "When I saw the River Island advert, I was so happy. I thought, 'YES! Another breakthrough for disability'. It's just so fantastic to see high-street retailers taking fashion into the modern times and proving fashion has no barrier.

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"My 16-year-old daughter Shannon was born with Down's Syndrome, but like any teenager she really enjoys shopping - although granted, she's more into her sporty clothes these days. But I have to say, when I showed her the new advert, she saw Kathleen and said, 'she looks beautiful, she looks like me'. Hearing her say this just reflects how positive the ad campaign really is."

Stacey and her daughter Shannon at a recent family party

Stacey, who is from Coventry and works as a Senior Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor, continued: "We try and help Shannon find her own individual style but she sometimes finds it difficult to express herself. I just hope, like any other teenager, fashion will help her do this.

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"With River Island promoting fashion this way, hopefully the other high-street brands will sit up and take notice. I think it's about time ad campaigns reflect the true society we live in. I can't wait for mine and Shannon's next shopping trip - I think we'll be popping straight to RI."

Shannon loves the colour red thanks to her obsession with Liverpool FC

READ NEXT: The inspiring story behind River Island's new seven-year-old double amputee model

It's not the first time the brand has championed inclusivity. Back in July, they signed a deal with seven-year-old double amputee, Daisy-May Demetre. "We require a model who has lots of energy and looked great in active wear. Daisy-May fitted this brief perfectly," a River Island representative said at the time.

 

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