We knew Naomi Campbell was an icon – but here’s now it’s official. Here’s why…

The supermodel and philanthropist has been a force in the fashion industry for decades - but now she'll be officially honoured as an 'Icon' at the Fashion Awards 2019 in December. And she's bringing her starry Fashion for Relief show back to London during Fashion Week in September. Read on for the lowdown...
  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • We all know Naomi Campbell is a fashion icon – she’s graced countless magazine covers, starred in countless campaigns and is pretty much the living embodiment of the Nineties super supermodel phenomena. But she’s a lot more than that, too. The British Fashion Council have announced that she’ll be awarded the ‘Fashion Icon’ honour at the upcoming Fashion Awards 2019, to be held at the Royal Albert Hall in December. The award recognises people who have used their voice and position within the fashion industry to effect positive change.

    The BFC say Campbell will be ‘recognised for her incredible contribution to the fashion industry, her world-renowned career as a supermodel, as well as her philanthropist work with charities, and incredible efforts for a more diverse and equal future, especially in Africa.’ Campbell founded Fashion for Relief in 2005, a fashion-tastic event (Jourdan Dunn on the Fashion for Relief catwalk in 2016, below) that has since been held in locations including New York and the South of France. The charity has raised millions for disaster relief, for crises like the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina. Excitingly, Campbell will be bringing it back home to London this September, staging a catwalk show during London Fashion Week.

    Fashion for Relief

    Naomi Campbell began charity work with the late Nelson Mandela in 1993 (with Naomi in 2001, below), and in 1997 he named her “Honorary Granddaughter” for her activism. In 2018, Naomi Campbell had the honour of presenting a tribute to the independence leader, who would have turned 100, at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in NYC. Naomi also made a speech at Winnie Mandela’s funeral, calling her “a woman of strength who endured much hardship and sacrifice”. In 2013, Naomi Campbell launched the Campaign “Diversity Coalition” with the aim to address racism in the fashion industry. She headlined the 2019 Forbes Woman Africa’s Leading Women Summit as well as co-producing this year’s Arise Fashion Week in Lagos.

    Unbelievable as it may sound, Campbell was the first black model to appear on the cover of Time magazine, the first black model to grace the cover of French Vogue (in 1988), the first black model to cover American Vogue’s most prestigious issue of the year – the September issue – in 1989, and the first British black model to star on the cover of British Vogue. Modelling in one of Alexander McQueen’s early Givenchy shows, below


    The BFC’s chief executive Caroline Rush says: “We cannot think of a more deserving recipient than iconic Londoner Naomi Campbell, she has achieved exceptional work in the industry. Naomi represents female empowerment, activism and glamour and her voice is used for great impact. We are thrilled to present The Fashion Icon Award to Naomi and acknowledge her for her remarkable contribution to the global fashion industry, and we look forward to celebrating with her in London in December.” Ours is a pisco sour, cheers, Campbell…

    Reading now

    Popular fashion stories