Ben James is a popular male plus size model and body positive activist from Yorkshire. Ben became a model in 2018 and has quickly become one of Britain’s most recognized male plus size models within a huge growth category in the fashion industry, modelling for leading brands.
We pride ourselves on finding everyone's perfect fit and we were delighted to have Ben in store to take him through the fitting experience. His perfect fit was a 17" Slim Fit with 36" sleeve length.
How do you personally think about style and fashion?
Clothing has always been a challenge for me being 6’6”. Historically as a ‘bigger guy’ fashion itself has always been an inaccessible space for me, including the formal and sartorial fashion. As my body has changed over the years, I have been able to enjoy more, which has been a nice experience but it does show me that there should be an opportunity for guys to be able to enter the market at a bigger size. They don’t necessarily have to shrink themselves in order to start dressing well.
You should be able to dress well at any size. Alder & Green's shirts for example come in a big size range, which makes people feel welcomed. When you finally find your brand, your confidence changes instantly. That can really help you get out there and perform better at your work, especially in office-based work where you’re in close contact with people.
HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY?
Sustainability in the fashion space is at a really critical point right now. Things have to change and I think fast fashion brands should be penalised and made to pay for the damage they create. As a solution, it would be great to see the classics come back, almost like a uniform, to remind and show people of a more staple way of dressing.
We need to inspire change by educating consumers on the fact that you don’t need a new shirt every two weeks, just buy one great shirt that can last you 5 years. Teaching people how to look after their garments is also really important, so they know how to actually care for it and not rush to constantly replace their wardrobe.
What is the best career advice you have received?
The best career advice is “go all in.” There are times when it hasn’t felt like the best decision because I sometimes realise, I shouldn’t go all in so quickly but it is important to give it everything you have got. The classic saying goes, you have to have a pound of flesh in the game and if you want to reap the full rewards, you have to put yourself completely in.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start now. Don’t want for the right time or feeling your best, whatever that is. I really struggled with my confidence growing up, so I would be more inclined to push myself to get over that faster. Sometimes you just have to rip off the plaster. As an example, I had body dysmorphia growing up and one of the best and worst things that happened to me was being forced to stand in what can only be described as a thong in front of 22 women in a room! I had to tell them how that garment felt wearing it, as I was a fit model. That was excruciatingly vulnerable but after than I felt bullet-proof. You just have to actively put yourself in your worst-case scenario and see what happens.