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Sustainable Stylist Ashley Campbell's Take on the Psychology of Fashion

Updated: Feb 3

Fashion is different for everyone; it is a form of self-expression. Some like to get more creative than others. Some like to dress how they feel. Every individual dresses in a way unique to them, but there is more to fashion than what appeals to the eye. 


“Your clothes should speak for you before you even open your mouth,” says Ashley Campbell, a thirty-nine-year-old sustainable fashion stylist from Brooklyn, New York. 


Sustainable stylist Ashley Campbell

Campbell began her fashion career in 2005 as a fashion intern at Essence magazine, where she worked in editorial styling. She has always had a love for fashion; however, she has not always worked in the field. Campbell explains how she worked in corporate for a while, but often found herself in her favorite thrift store, The Salvation Army, after every shift, with only two hours to shop. She described thrift shopping as her therapy. It was not long before she fell back in love with her passions and decided to follow her heart, leading her to where she is today — styling clients and making them feel confident and beautiful in their skin while also staying true to who they are. 


Campbell is currently the number one booking on Airbnb Experiences in New York City. This platform allows her to offer styling services such as style-me classes, pack-with-me sessions, and closet clean-out sessions. 


Specializing in sustainability, she takes her clients thrifting rather than pulling from showrooms and designers like stylists typically do. As some of her clients live in different parts of the world and are unable to go thrifting with her, she will create a personalized bundle of vintage items online and conveniently deliver them to her clients. 


Ashley Campbell styling a client

“Working in the fashion industry and knowing how we typically do shoots, it's better for a woman to play around with her wardrobe if she does it sustainably,” she explains.


Fashion is all about experimenting. People are constantly changing, which means their style is always evolving. Depending on where a person is at in their lives, how they feel, and what their personality is like can all factor into how a person dresses. 


According to Fashion Is Psychology, critical thinking goes into our fashion choices. How we present ourselves to the world impacts how others perceive and interact with us. Believe it or not, what we wear can help us build stronger connections.


Your clothing is nonverbal communication, she says,” so everything you do should always reflect who you are.”


Campbell explains that if a person is going through life transitions, they often come to her wanting to change their life and reflect their new self, which starts with changing their style.


"Deep down inside, we know that clothes don't cover up what has or is happening internally," she says.


Loving what she does, Campbell often develops a bond with her clients. Her career as a stylist influences them to open up about their life experiences and share what they are currently going through, allowing her to style them accordingly.


According to Science Of People, once you identify the feeling you want your clothes to portray, the easier it is to choose the right pieces. 


“It's not just about ‘oh, i want to go shopping,’ there's always something deeper in why they want to try a new style,” she explains. 


Campbell explains how women must open up about who they truly are in order for her to provide them with the services they need. “A lot of the time, people don’t know who they truly are,” she explains. Nowadays, social media has an influence on people's style. People often find themselves sticking to the trends and wearing what society claims is in. By doing this, you can lose sight of who you truly are. 


After connecting with her clients on a deeper level, Campbell has a better understanding of who she is working with. Asking a series of questions before solidifying her stylistic choices is routine for her. She uses the same process on herself: Why are you choosing this? How are you feeling about this? What is your reasoning behind this? Does this convey what you want to wear on this day? 


“How we look and present ourselves to the world is extremely important,” she says. “The inner has to reflect on the outer.”


Culture plays another huge role in how people choose to dress. Campbell shared a personal experience she had with a client who was very in tune with her culture. She wanted to wear pieces that were tied to her Jamaican roots, so the colors of the garments in her wardrobe were colors that were close to her cultural background. Being her authentic self allowed Campbell to fully understand who she was as an individual and led her to style successfully. 


An additional factor that plays a role in the way we choose to dress is the color theory and the psychology of color. Color psychology studies how colors impact human behavior. For example, red and black are considered powerful colors. People often associate red with love, anger, passion, and warmth, whereas people often associate black with power, mystery, sophistication, and depression.


Campbell shares a personal story about a dark time in her life when she was in a deep depression. She felt as though her soul was sick, so she dressed in black clothing most days — her attire reflected her soul.


"I saw my life through a lens of gray, conformed to the depression, not able to see a way out — it was a very gloomy and dark time in my life," she explains. "Now, being on the other side, my life is full of light and joy, so now, when I wear the color black, it represents maturity, elegance, and sophistication."


Our outfit choices reflect not only what kind of mood we are in but also what we are experiencing in our lives. Understanding this concept will allow us to reveal and understand our true emotions.


“I think fashion should always be how you feel, not based upon anything else,” says Campbell.

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