More than just your run-of-the-mill guy, Jade Campbell is an advocate for inclusivity
Having received quite a bit of buzz from the release of his debut collection, style influencer Jade Campbell is fast becoming a reputable force in the local fashion community – campaigning for the inclusion for all body types within the local mainstream fashion industry. But for Jade, this is not where it started. Surprisingly, his first job was working at the front of house at a hotel. ‘But, that didn’t last long,’ says Jade. While studying fashion design seemed out of reach, partly due to the heavy price tag that is associated with it, he sought out a more permanent steadfast position. This led to him finding a job at a sporting events company, which is where he still works – 10 years later. It’s just that now he moonlights as a stylist on the side. ‘I was dressing celebrities for red carpet events, J&B Mets, Durban Julys, fashion weeks and styling them for shoots,’ says Jade. From afar, one would think that he has been living a life that many yearn for, but this lifestyle came at a price: his health.
Due to an increasingly busy life and not putting his health first, Jade gained a large amount of weight. It wasn’t until the morning before fashion week, when he saw his reflection in the mirror, that he decided it was time for a change. From that point on, Jade wanted to better himself by creating a balanced lifestyle. He felt that it was time to put himself first. ‘Self-love and self-respect go hand in hand,’ he says, and that’s the message he wants to project to the world. ‘I want to speak for the man who can’t find his perfect fit, because that in itself is quite discouraging.’ For Jade, being an advocate for body positivity is much more than just jumping on an already existing bandwagon, it’s a lifestyle that he is living – and deems it to be incredibly important.
His collection, in collaboration with Radisson RED, was under development for the better part of a year, and he admits that while on his journey, he didn’t think his dream would come to pass. However, with some perseverance, determination and a strong partnership, the #PlusIsEqual campaign was launched and captured the attention of the public nationwide. In the final showcase, 13 fresh-faced plus-size models walked the RED runway adorned in the Campbell by Jade Campbell brand. The outfits were simple in design yet chic in nature, ranging from classically urban to beachwear pieces and even a few duffles. ‘I always had the vision of making clothes, but this time I wanted to do it with a purpose. As a big boy, you question yourself daily. Do I fit in? Do I look okay? What do I wear to an event? I didn’t want to feel like that anymore. I wanted to make a change for people like me,’ explains Jade. And, with a vision that has materialised, he can now ‘deliver a body-positive message through fashion’. It’s safe to say that this message has been received, loud and clear!
When asked to describe his signature style, Jade lists his ever-changing hair colour along with classic black slacks, a T-shirt, trainers or mules and a jacket or coat with a dash of colour as a few of his must-haves. But, he does not neglect to mention that the pressures of the societal standard of beauty has corrupted us into thinking that if you’re plus-size, then you aren’t good enough. For Jade, fashion is much more than what you see online on social media: ‘Fashion is about being yourself and being comfortable with who you are. It’s about growing a culture of men who are confident, no matter their physical appearance.’ He then continues by offering some essential fashion advice: ‘Don’t keep up with trends, invest in basics and vintage pieces – they never go out of style. The same with timeless fashion items such as a nifty blazer, a leather jacket (vegan, of course), as well as a few classic, tailored shirts. If you’re still unsure, embrace the “less is more” approach.’
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