Burberry has signed up an Asian model for an entire season. As Hayley Platt reports it's a first for the UK fashion brand and it's thought to be a bid to open doors to new markets.
She made her catwalk debut for Burberry last year - this year they booked her exclusively for London Fashion Week. Neelam Gill, was born in Britain of Indian origin. And she's Burberry's first British Asian model. Christopher Bailey is Burberry's chief executive. SOUNDBITE: Christopher Bailey, Chief Executive, Burberry, saying (English): "We had a very big conversation 12 months ago and I was like come on give this a go, you're perfectly suited for it, so I think it's important but it's not about trying to be diverse it should just be about the way that you work." Neelam is one of only a handful of ethnic models to break into mainstream fashion. Asian girls tend to be too short for the catwalk. At 5'10'' that's not a worry for Neelam. And even though she's only 19 she appreciates the opportunity she's been given. SOUNDBITE: Neelam Gill, model, saying (English): "In the past many Indian models have only done Indian based jobs for Indian brands whereas when I work for brands like Burberry or if I shoot for Vogue it just shows that fashion doesn't have a colour." Burberry is best known for its trademark check-patterned raincoats. And countries in the Asia-Pacific regions already love them. It's Burberry's biggest market. With Neelam onboard, others could follow. Karen Diamond is director of Neelam's agency, Models One. SOUNDBITE: Karen Diamond, Director, Models One, saying (English): "I think when Burberry booked Neelam exclusively I think they were very, very aware that this was going to be the first Asian girl that had walked for them and Asian-British girl, which I think makes a big difference to a brand with the British heritage that Burberry has. So I think that Christopher Bayley is very clever and knew what exactly what he was doing." Next stop for Neelam is Milan Fashion week. And there are plenty of other offers on the table. She says she's considering her options. But has already set her sights on becoming the world's first Asian super model.