It’s already 2018, and considering all the movements geared toward body positivity, you expect the fashion industry to be more diverse now. But the recent Men’s Fashion Week proved us all wrong again.
The Men’s FW has been around for years now, but it wasn’t until last year that a plus-size model has been invited to the show. Rising model Trey Campbell walked down the Men’s FW runway for fashion brand ASOS. This year, he was hoping the number would increase, but it turned out, for the second time around, he was the only plus-size model to hit the runway.
In a piece he wrote for Teen Vogue, Campbell opened up about participating in a fashion event that left him disappointed over its lack of diversity.
Trey Campbell Shares Thoughts on Men’s FW’s Lack of Diversity
Growing up in a community that made him feel different because of his shape and size, Trey Campbell admits he has always had a hard time finding clothes that would fit him.
“Shopping for school clothes was always heartbreaking because nothing ever fit right. My southern belle of a mother would always tell me how handsome I looked while the retail associate stared at me with pity. I’d only give myself a two second look over in the mirror because anything longer would result in a thunderstorm of tears I couldn’t bear to drown my Mama in.”
His experience as a “stocky” middle schooler wasn’t all that great. He was picked on, and Campbell had to live with the insult thrown at him for years.
” . . . I carried not only the weight that God continued to bless me with, but I also carried the weight of the hurt. I was 5’10” and 325 pounds but add on the hurt and it felt like 9 million pounds.”
Campbell turned to music for refuge and went on to audition for background singer jobs. Being at the center stage would’ve been great, but Campbell said he knew it would only subject him to more fat-shaming. He soon started writing songs and found bigger opportunities as a budding songwriter. It was a big deal for him, so there was that need to “look the part.”
Even then, Campbell found it difficult to find clothes for his body type—until a friend told him about ASOS. He started purchasing clothes from the brand until they discovered him, stumbling upon his Instagram page where he constantly shares his OOTDs.
And then Trey Campbell found himself at the Men’s Fashion Week, all ready to represent the brand he personally loves. It was an honor to be there, but
He shared, “In fashion, New York Fashion Week is the holy grail. Fashion royalty, models, and up-and-coming movers and shakers all come to get a first look at trends for the coming season. While many of the people attending Fashion Week come from all walks of life, those that stand on stage usually look they’ve been personally crafted by a God.
“Standing on that stage beside all of these fit, tall, and beautiful models made my insecurities flare up.. . . I went through with it anyway, because I knew that this moment was bigger than me. I had to do it for the millions of other people, different like me, who stand in the shadows because they’ve been told that they aren’t good enough.”
On what he thinks should be changed, Trey Campbell said, “Things have to change because there are far too many bright and beautiful ranges of people that aren’t being included. I challenge more designers, retailers, and brands to take a look at the world around them. People come in all shapes and sizes. A smart business person would take inventory of that and include more sizes to outfit a wider range of people. I will eternally be grateful to ASOS for taking an insecure, chubby guy and making him feel like he’s worth being included. Honestly, we’re all worth it.”