Kenneth Cole, for the third consecutive season, embraces The Courageous Class—those determined individuals who overcome life’s challenges to become the inspiring role models they were meant to be.
Among them is Toxic Shock Syndrome survivor, activist, and model Lauren Wasser.
Lauren Wasser was practically born in the fashion industry, having her first shoot at just five months old for Italian Vogue with her model mother, Pamela Cook.
She remained in the entertainment industry as both a model and aspiring actor until the age of 24 when her life took a devastating turn. Lauren suffered from Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) from a tampon and nearly died. While Lauren was lucky to live, she lost her right leg and the toes on her left foot.
The experience of having her old identity ripped from her, along with the daily struggle to even walk, sent Lauren into a deep depression and she even contemplated suicide. Then Lauren reconnected with an old acquaintance Jennifer Rovero, a photographer who began using phototherapy as a method for healing.
With her newfound confidence and anger, Lauren decided to fight for awareness for TSS.
In 2015, Lauren and Jennifer shared her story with Vice, becoming one of their biggest stories, reaching 6 million views and opening up a global conversation about women’s feminine hygiene and beauty.
Since then, in addition to our campaign, Lauren has worked clients such as Nordstrom, Refinery 29 and Noisy May who are embracing her new image and helping spread awareness about Toxic Shock Syndrome.
In February of 2016, Lauren also walked for Chromat in New York Fashion Week. Today, she continues to spread a message of awareness about Toxic Shock Syndrome and body positivity.
The Courageous Class campaign also features model, actress, and maternal health advocate Liya Kebede, musician, humanitarian, filmmaker, and tech creative Kenna, and actor RJ Mitte of Breaking Bad who became a successful actor despite having Cerebral Palsy.
The Courageous Class is an idea borne of Kenneth Cole’s legacy as an aspirational, urban style brand with a fearless voice for social justice that empowers many to “LOOK GOOD, FOR GOOD.”
The Courageous Class looks for inspiration through getting involved. They care about their communities and each other, and don’t let where they have come from, or the adversity they have faced, define their potential. The Courageous Class believes the real models are the role models.
The advertising campaign will be supported by a national print, outdoor, digital, and social media plan. The campaign was shot in New York City by the fashion and portrait photographer Boo George.
The campaign features the work of stylist Tiina Laakkonem, hair by Kevin Ryan, and makeup by Florrie White.
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