News & Runway

Transgender Models Benjamin Melzer and Loiza Lamers OWN Diesel x About You’s Latest Promotion

Diesel has a long history of inclusivity. Disabled model Jillian Mercado made her debut in the denim label’s 2014 #DieselReboot campaign. Creative director Nicola Formichetti tapped androgynous model Stav Strashko for the brand’s emoji-filled Spring 2016 ads. Now, Diesel is back at it again with the awesome castings. Its latest shoot, a collaboration with German clothing company About You, features two transgender models, Benjamin Melzer and Loiza Lamers.

“Diesel contacted me for a campaign around the same time Loiza and I were planning on doing a concept shoot to raise awareness to create more opportunities for transgender models in campaigns for major brands,” Melzer revealed in an interview. “Diesel heard the idea and loved it.”

The pair is already internationally known — Melzer was the first transgender man to cover Men’s Health Germany, Lamers the first transgender model to win Holland’s Next Top Model. The two plan to use their clout to help generate visibility for the transgender community. “As you know, the transgender community has been getting a lot of attention the past few years which is a good thing, but it’s so important right now that we continue to strive and work hard to break through that glass ceiling so transgender men and women are not seen as a fad or hype,” Melzer stated. “We are real people with real professions and should be allowed the same opportunities as everyone else.” Preach.

In a behind-the-scenes video to accompany the shoot, the two unbelievably talented models pose in off-the-beaten path urban settings — outside of an abandoned factory, along a (presumably defunct) railway — in various laid-back, “dark-toned essentials.” In one shot Lamers rocks a silky jumpsuit, Melzer your typical jeans, plain tee, leather jacket combo.

According to a spokesperson for Diesel, the models were chosen “because they perfectly support the brand’s attitude: free-spirited, against all odds and fresh young minds.”

After the Fall 2016 campaigns’ total lack of transgender castings, it’s encouraging to see the tide ever-so-slightly shifting. Of course, Diesel’s efforts are merely a drop in the bucket — many more mainstream brands need to get on board.

Watch the full Diesel x About You promo below.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post mistakenly called this a Diesel campaign. According to a Diesel representative, it “was a shooting that was carried out in order to launch the new DIESEL collection on Germany’s second biggest fashion online shop, ABOUT YOU. Transgender models Benjamin Melzer and Loiza Lamers were chosen because they perfectly support the brand’s attitude: free-spirited, against all odds and fresh young minds. And Diesel as a brand has always supported diversity in all its forms.”

[ via Mic ]