Style Icons and Fashion Objects: Naomi Campbell

Style Icons and Fashion Objects: Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell is one of the most sought after models in the fashion and beauty industry. During her career in the fashion industry, she gained recognition as an iconic supermodel. Born in 1970, she began her modelling career at the tender age of 15. Thus, her career began while she was still at school.  In the 1980s and 1990s, her career blossomed making her the top model of the time. She is also the first black model to feature on the covers of British Vogue magazine and French Vogue. Besides modelling, Campbell has established a successful career in other fields such as film, television, and pop. This paper will focus on Naomi Campbell’s path to becoming a supermodel in an industry dominated by thousands of designers and aspiring fashionistas.

Glamorous look                                  1980’s Fashion


She overcame great odds to make it in the fashion industry. When she ventured into the industry, she experienced what she calls “territorialism”, or racism (Levine, 2016). At the time, there was domination of the industry by white models, and no black models had ever made it to any of the popular magazine covers. Since her first appearance on the cover of French Vogue, Campbell has maintained sensationalism in the industry for over 30 years. Campbell’s success is pegged on her great determination, wit, glamour, and beauty. Combined with her personality and energy, she is sure to capture the hearts of great designers and funs. This has contributed much to her success in the industry.

Vogue Cover                                          Fashion Awards (1991)


Campbell has worked with top designers and photographers in the industry. Some of the top photographers she has worked with include Mario Testino, Patrick DeMarchelier, Nick Knight, Ellen von Unwerth, and among others (The Huffington Post, 2016). She has participated in campaigns for iconic brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Pepsi Cola, David Yurman, Ralph Lauren, Sobe Water, and among other top brands. This made her name popular in the fashion industry. Campbell received mentorship from top designers such as John Galliano, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaia, and others (The Huffington Post, 2016). These were also her close friends from which she received inspiration and motivation to work hard and succeed in the industry. Her close ties with fashion icons in the industry has greatly helped her move her career forward.


Print Dress                                                      British Vogue Cover (2001) with P. Diddy


Naomi Campbell is not just into modelling. She has successfully pursued other ventures, including entrepreneurship, film and television, and music. She has starred in various music videos for great musicians such as George Michael, Michael Jackson, and Aretha Franklin. She is also involved in writing, having published her first novel, Swan, in 1994. She made an appearance in various films by Spike Lee, Steve DeMarco, and Michelangelo Antonioni. Other notable ventures in which she has participated include being part of the editorial board for GQ magazine, a New York based men’s magazine (Derrick & Muir, 2007). Campbell’s numerous roles in film and video have helped her remain the spotlight. As such, she never fades into the oblivion since she often engaged in one venture or another.

Vogue Cover (1996)                           CFDA Awards (2000)


In addition to the above, Naomi Campbell has pursued a career in acting and music. Her music career received more attention in Japan. In her music career, she released her top selling album, Baby Woman, and sold over 1 million copies. The song “Love and Tears” from the album particularly became a hit worldwide (Derrick & Muir, 2007). Recently, she has established her presence in television. In 2013, she came up with her own reality show, dubbed “The Face”, which revolves around the lives of aspiring models. A similar reality series of the show is available to Australia’s television lovers. More recently, Campbell has landed a number of acting roles. In 2015, Campbell earned a slot in “Empire”, an American drama that is among the highest selling.

Puff-sleeved printed blouse                1980’s throwback


Naomi Campbell has demonstrated her business acumen by successfully running her own entrepreneurial ventures. In 2006, Campbell introduced her celebrity perfume, which became successful in the market. Later, she entered into partnership with Procter & Gamble, which saw her introduce 10 additional brands of fragrances (Mapstone, 2016). The consumers received the brands well in the market. Her great success in the fragrance industry was noteworthy – in 2007, she won a prestigious award dubbed the FiFi award. In 2010, Campbell worked with Fiorruci where she was part of the team responsible for redesigning the brand. Her entrepreneurial spirit has earned her accolades from numerous individuals in the industry such as top designers and photographers.

Venice Film Festival                                       Vanity Fair Oscars


Naomi Campbell is also notable for her great contribution in charity work. Over the years, she has been involved in a number of charity events and projects such as The UNESCO orphanage, Fashion for Relief, and other charity works. Campbell’s support for the less fortunate in the society has also received considerable attention from different areas. Over the years, she has successfully helped in raising funds for helping those living in deplorable conditions, or the sick.



Derrick, R., & Muir, R. (2007). Vogue covers: On fashion’s front page. London: Little, Brown.

Levine, N. (2016, April 23). Naomi Campbell says she experienced fashion industry         ‘territorialism’ because of skin colour. Independent.

Mapstone, L. (2016, May 9). Putting the super into supermodel! Daily Mail.

The Huffington Post. (2016). Naomi Campbell. Retrieved from   

Style Icons & Fashion Objects