A Supermodel Citizen
The fashion world is abuzz right now—think New York, London, Paris and Milan—packed with photographers, editors and models for the preview of the 2016 collections. How does one survive the happy chaos? We asked international top model Aine Rose Campbell to give us her survival guide, and her insider tips for London, once things have calmed down.
Campbell was one of the first Eurasian models on the London and New York fashion scene, and powerhouses like Topshop, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Guerlain, Alexander McQueen, and Alice and Olivia have been drawn to her unique look. Her work for international magazines like Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, NYLON, Paper speaks to her appeal.
Since launching her career, Aine has used her influence to promote sustainable fashion by modeling for a number of ethically conscious brands. She is also on the Advisory Board at the Model Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to improve the working conditions for models.
Here she candidly reveals how her ethnicity has shaped who she is, how she’s survived many a fashion week, and more.
What was it like growing up in London with your unique mix of Chinese, Irish, Scottish and English heritage? Has your diverse background helped your career?
Being from a diverse background has made me very open to other cultures and curious to learn about other people’s heritage and backgrounds. London is full of people from all over the world and I love being part of the place. When I started modeling there were no other Eurasian models and so I was able to offer clients a new look. It definitely a gave me a huge edge because I was considered exotic—a fusion of East and West. It was exciting to be in the vanguard as one of the few mixed race Eurasian models early on. Today there are many more mixed ethnicity models around and I love that. I think that it’s important to encourage more ethnically ambiguous models as an authentic reflection of society.
When did you first get interested in promoting sustainable and ethical fashion, and collaborating with conscious brands?
I first became interested in sustainable fashion in 2011 when I modeled the winning design for the Red Dress Green Carpet competition, set up by film director James Cameron and his wife, actress, Suzy Amis-Cameron for the Academy Awards in LA. It was a really spectacular event and they talked to me a lot about why sustainable fashion was important and how they hoped to inspire designers of dresses for the Oscars to become more aware of sourcing sustainable fabrics.
After that I decided that I wanted to support sustainable fashion through modeling for ethical brands. Since working with the Camerons, I’ve walked runways and shot campaigns for incredible eco and artisanal brands such as Finlay & Co., Cobra Society, GammaFolk and KORDAL.
What are your five tips for surviving London Fashion Week?
1. Comfy flats. This is the ultimate for me. As a model you either have to wear high heels a lot or uncomfortable flats that are probably a size or two too small. Having a great pair of flats to get from show to show in is a sanctuary for your feet. I love wearing Veja’s vegan sneakers-super comfy and stylish.
2. Sparkling water. I’m a little addicted to it. It keeps you hydrated and the added fizz is so refreshing.
3. A good audio book. A few years ago I would have said a good book, but now that we have audio books, this means you don’t have to put your book down when you’re getting your hair and make up done.
4. Phone charger! Because you always run out of charge during fashion week. You’re posting on social media, you’re going from one show to another, and you’re out all day, so this is a MUST.
5. A hair band. When I’m out and about all day, I like to have a hair band on my wrist to get my hair off my face, especially if I’ve been at a show and it’s a big crimped, hair-sprayed mess!
What’s your favorite neighborhood spots in London?
1. Gordon’s Wine Bar, Embankment. It’s an old wine bar down in a cellar. When you are there, you feel like you’re either part of a movie set or that you’ve gone back in time to Elizabethan London.
2. Hampstead Heath, Hampstead. This is one the best outdoor areas in London. It’s a huge park that’s wild with roaming hills and lakes, some that you can swim in! Great for summer walks and picnics.
3. Borough Market, London Bridge. Borough Market is full of amazing wholesome, well sourced food. It’s so much fun to go there close to Christmas and get mulled wine and a mince pie.
What was it like shooting major publications for Vogue and Elle?
The best bit is when you can go and buy the magazine and see the final product! I love that I’ve been featured in both Vogue and Elle in the West and in China, so that has meant that my family in China could also see and read about my work.
Who have been your favorite designers to work for?
Donna Karan, Cesar Galindo and Mike Vensal. Donna Karan is such a visionary. Her talent is inspiring. She also is one of the warmest people I’ve met in the industry, she has a big heart. Cesar Galindo because not only are his designs beautiful and vibrant, but he is a lot of fun. Backstage at his runway shows, it’s always a laugh. Mike Vensal is an awesome designer and is really committed to creating pieces that are sustainably made. I always learn so much when I work with him.
What have been some of your most memorable modeling moments?
Runways are such a buzz—down the long catwalk with cameras flashing—my first London Fashion Week show for Olivia Rubin was pure adrenaline! As a I’m musician also, adding music to the mix—I played the piano with James Blunt in one of his music videos, and in 500 improvised videos for an AT&T campaign.
You’re on the Advisory Board at the nonprofit labor group, The Model Alliance. Tell us, what you’ve been doing there?
Channeling my experience and success as a model into a more social activist focus with Model Alliance, I created ‘Careers Beyond the Runway’ an innovative event to explore ways in which models can broaden their future employment opportunities.
Follow Aine on Instagram.