Julian Assange, fashion model?

The WikiLeaks founder has reportedly been asked to work the runway in an upcoming menswear show by designer Ben Westwood, son of the legendary Dame Vivienne.

assange.jpg
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder, lightning rod, and now... fashion model?

Apparently so. According to multiple reports, he's been asked to make his modeling debut during London Fashion Week in a show by designer Ben Westwood. And he won't have to risk arrest to work the catwalk.

The September show will take place at the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange has for two years sought political asylum from a British court order to extradite him to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.

Westwood -- who is not listed under designers on the official London Fashion Week site -- found inspiration for his upcoming collection from "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly," a '60s Italian Western in which Clint Eastwood plays an enigmatic loner.

"My view about Julian is that he is a popular hero and he's done a great deal to change public opinion," Westwood said in a statement. "I think it's a citizen's duty to stand up for justice and freedom of speech. I want to highlight Julian Assange's plight."

Assange's WikiLeaks site has published more than 8 million anonymously leaked documents since 2006, including a trove of classified information.

Westwood, a photographer known for his erotic shots, is the oldest son of famed designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, also an Assange supporter. She created an "I am Julian Assange" T-shirt bearing his image and wore it when visiting Assange at the embassy in 2012. The shirt also appeared in one of her own runway shows.

Assange, 42, will reportedly appear in the London Fashion Week fringe event along with six other models. Still, fashion magazines shouldn't set aside space for an Assange photo spread just yet.

According to a New York Times fashion blog, Richard Hillgrove, a London publicist working on the September Ben Westwood show, has said the Assange modeling gig is still under discussion.

Should he decline the opportunity, maybe his onscreen doppelganger Benedict Cumberbatch can step in.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

 

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