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This British-Indian Model Is The New Face Of Abercrombie & Fitch

The company said casting Neelam Gill was a "step forward" for the brand.

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Meet Neelam Gill, the British-Indian model who has been cast as the new face of the US clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch, which says it's undergoing an "evolution" of the brand.

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The 20-year-old from Coventry first shot to fame after being cast as the first Indian model for Burberry two years ago. Today, she storms down runways for major labels around the world, including Dior, Gap, and Kanye West.

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Abercrombie & Fitch said it wanted to "try something new" and that casting Gill has been a "step forward" for the brand.

The company has been criticised in the past for its sexualised adverts, its refusal to stock larger sizes, and a lack of diversity among its models.

But today, Abercrombie & Fitch is making big changes. The retailer told Women's Wear Daily that it's attempting to project a "modern, minimalist look, higher quality, and less sexual imagery".

"Although we are still on a journey of change, we feel that we have made developments in our brand creative, and this shoot starring Neelam Gill has been a step forward for us."

Gill says she believes her success is breaking boundaries of gender, race, and class, particularly in the modelling industry that she says "has a long way to go" when it comes to race.

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The model, who often speaks out about issues including bullying, body confidence, racism, and depression on her YouTube channel, told the Evening Standard: "The industry is improving – but there is a long way to go. There needs to be a major change in model casting. A lot of shows cast non-white models as a token thing. I have never seen a show with more than one black, Asian, or Indian girl, which is frustrating."

She added: "I don't care if people call me ugly but when it is about your skin colour that is unacceptable. I see comments such as 'she is like that refugee I saw on TV', and then they find my family and troll them."

Growing up, Gill said she was the target of racist abuse and bullied at school for being poor. But today, she's having the last laugh.

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"They looked down on me because I had less money," she said. "They wore the brands I model for now, which is ironic."

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Rossalyn Warren is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rossalyn Warren at rossalyn.warren@buzzfeed.com.

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