'Modern Family': Black LGBTQ Family Featured in New Fashion Campaign
By Mashaun D. Simon
Swedish fashion brand Acne Studios launched a new advertising campaign for their fall/winter collection, but it’s not the luxury brand’s clothing that’s turning heads — it’s the models.
Acne Studios tapped Kordale Lewis, Kaleb Anthony and their four children to be the faces of the brand. The Atlanta-area family was thrust in the spotlight back in 2014, when one of their Instagram photos — of Lewis and Anthony getting their daughters ready for school (embedded below) — went viral and became the center of a national media conversation about same-sex families.
“I wanted to cast a modern family,” Jonny Johansson, creative director and co-founder of Acne Studios, told NBC News. “We’re trying to highlight how every family is different … There is no ‘normal’ family.”
When they initially agreed to participate in the campaign, Lewis and Anthony said they didn’t realize how much of an impact it would have. Now, they see the campaign as being a defining moment for them personally and the broader LGBTQ community.
“We definitely see this moment in our relationship as iconic,” Lewis said. “We, as a people within our community, we want equality … We believe this campaign will help.”
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Lewis and Anthony also said being credited as the first black same-sex couple to be the faces of a global fashion line has been a surreal experience.
“This does not seem real,” Anthony said. “But, to be honest, this has not changed our daily lives. We are fathers before anything, and we have to be sure that we stay focused on our children and being the best representation that we can for them.”
The couple said their kids — Desmiray, 10, Maliyah, 9, Kordale Jr., 8, and Kaleb Jr., 10 months — enjoyed the experience.
“They are floored by the campaign,” the couple said, adding that their daughters are especially excited. “Our daughters aspire to be on the screen; they like the glitz and glamour that is involved in making a campaign like this a success.”
This is not the family’s first advertising campaign — they were featured in a Nikon ad two years ago — and they hope it’s not the last, either.
“We would love to work with different companies for the upcoming seasons and possibly broker an ongoing deal with a company interested in us,” the couple said. “Even more, we would love to do a docu-series on our family to show the world the normalcy of our household.”
Lewis and Anthony said amid these exciting experiences, they are teaching their children to remain humble.
“Of course, they have always known that people are different and to always accept someone for who they are,” Lewis said, “but with this experience they are learning the art of humility and appreciating opportunities bestowed upon them and our family as a whole.”
As for the Acne Studios campaign, Lewis, Anthony and Johansson all have a similar hope: that those who see the new campaign embrace its larger message.
“This is a message that is all about love,” Johansson said. “Families right now exist in all constellations. I think that has to be appreciated.”