Photo: Kate Spade New York

Why Kate Spade’s Decision to Tap Plus Size Celebrity Naomi Watanabe As Its 2020 Global Ambassador is Major

Kate Spade New York features Naomi Watanabe in a Spring 2020 campaign that’s colorful, chic and so modern.

Recently, the designer lifestyle brand announced that they have tapped plus size Watanabe as their 2020 Global Ambassador.

While Kate Spade New York only offers up to a size 16 (they expanded to a 16 and XXL in 2015), their partnership with Watanabe is a major step in the industry where many designer brands are extending their sizes and using models that are above a size 4.

Watanabe, who is also known as the “Japanese Beyoncé“ and has 9 million followers on Instagram, boasts an impressive resume that includes being an actress, comedian, and fashion designer. These accomplishments have put her in a position of power where she has branded herself as a key influencer in the high fashion and luxury beauty space.

She most notably was the face of Tokyo-based makeup brand Shu Uemura for the second time last summer and continues to break both racial and body size barriers in spaces that plus size bodies don’t usually have access to.

Photo: Shu Uemura

In 2018, Watanabe was not only hailed as the most followed person on Instagram in Japan but she also made Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential People on the Internet” list alongside major celebrities such as Rihanna and BTS.

Watanabe does not have an hourglass shape nor is she very tall or white. Yet she is showing that beauty comes in many forms and not just in that cookie cutter model stereotype.

The Japanese powerhouse was recently featured in Vogue Japan in a chic and bold editorial, wearing Moncler and Simone Rocha.

Watanabe’s collaboration with Kate Spade New York also includes a pop-up store in Japan where her imagery is featured prominently throughout the space.

The brand said in an official statement:

“As the embodiment of confidence, joy, and originality, Naomi’s passion for life is inclusive. She encourages women to express their individuality every day.”

Nicola Glass, the brand’s creative director adds:

“To us, Naomi represents all women. Her humor and love of life perfectly align with our brand values, and she makes our product shine. Together, we hope to continue inspiring multi-generational self-styled and self-motivated women to live their lives with substance, sophistication and a smile.”

Does this mean Kate Spade New York is prepping for another size expansion and partnering with some plus size models or celebrities? We shall see.

Photo: Kate Spade New York

In the meantime, it’s so refreshing to see a woman of color getting her shine while showing how diverse beauty is.

We think Kate Spade New York should just rename the Margaux, the Naomi. And we secretly pray there’s a collab in the works for a Naomi Watanabe handbag line. Imagine how fun that would be?

What do you think of Naomi Watanabe and her partnership with Kate Spade New York? Follow us on social media and let us know: @plusmodelmag:  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter