Diesel casts wheelchair-bound blogger Jillian Mercado as the star of its groundbreaking spring campaign

Diesel Jillian Mercado
Photography courtesy of Diesel and Nicola Formichetti
Diesel Jillian Mercado
Photography courtesy of Diesel

Hot on the heels of one of the most moving viral videos from last year, Diesel has cast Jillian Mercado, the face behind the popular blog Manufactured 1987, in its Spring 2014 campaign. While tapping bloggers as style icons and models isn’t anything new (Tavi Gevinson for Rodarte for Target, Leandra Medine for Tibi, and many others come to mind), what’s different about Diesel’s campaign is that Mercado is bound to a wheelchair and suffers from muscular dystrophy.

Always known for pushing the envelope, Diesel has chosen to change the way fashion advertising portrays women, aptly put in the campaign’s slogan #DieselReboot. The campaign, the brainchild of Diesel’s artistic director Nicola Formichetti, is focused on shifting the branding of the company by inviting us regular folk to steer the creative direction through the hashtag #DieselReboot on various social media platforms. A simple photo upload to their site could land you a major campaign contract—just like it did for Mercado.

The successful New York-based blogger looks absolutely flawless in the campaign, working denim just as well as Brooke did in her Calvins way back in the ‘80s. Rocking a cropped blonde do, which she has recently dyed purple, she matches fellow campaign star, artist James Astronaut. The shoot doesn’t attempt to hide her wheelchair but equally doesn’t force the issue—it comes as kind of a secondary fact, which you only notice after her fierce gaze. A graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology, and with several internships under her belt, Mercado is a force to be reckoned with.