Tuesday, November 29, 2022

This Busch Gardens employee has a side gig: Making clothes by hand to empower women

Amanda Campbell, owns ABLE, a fashion brand which promotes female empowerment. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Amber Kay Photography)
Amanda Campbell, owns ABLE, a fashion brand which promotes female empowerment. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Amber Kay Photography)

Amanda Campbell has been struggling with an eating disorder since she was 10 years old.

Now, she runs her own fashion business from her studio in Newport News, making clothing by hand to help women through fashion garments, body positivity and self care.

“Since I was 10, I’ve always known I wanted to have my own fashion brand,” Campbell said. “I really wanted women to have clothing that makes them feel good, feel at home in their bodies and their skin.”

Campbell started sewing around 7 years old with her grandmother, a home economics teacher, and her mother, who went to fashion merchandising school.

She uses her experiences dealing with her eating disorder, depression and anxiety to create beautiful garments, something she considers therapeutic, to remind others that she has survived and they can, too.

ABLE launched in November 2018.

“All of the time and effort I spent thinking about my eating disorder, I now channel that into my business and sewing, ” she said.

Campbell’s dresses are made from environmentally friendly materials such as natural dyes and organically grown bamboo.

None of her pieces have cotton and each of Campbell’s collections are inspired by life events.

Her Capsule collection has sizes XS to XXL and dresses in her other collections are regular sizes but can be custom ordered to any size.

Her collections take months since she has to design, sketch, make the dress patterns, practice her designs with other fabrics before making the actual garment.

Other services she offers are custom gowns, alterations and even private sewing lessons.

ABLE's Imperfections collection by Amanda Campbell. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Jawfox Photography)
ABLE’s Imperfections collection by Amanda Campbell. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Jawfox Photography)

While her business is mostly online and more a side gig for the virtual merchandiser at Busch Gardens, she has partnered with several shops to sell accessories like tote bags, enamel pins and leather bracelets at For All Handkind and Stencil & Knot in Norfolk.

Her plans include showcasing her fashion garments at runway shows in the spring at Twin City Fashion Week in Winston-Salem, Soutrh Carolina, RVA Fashion Week and two other fashion events in Richmond and teaching sewing classes at Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center for people 13 years and older in the spring and summer months.

So why name her business ABLE?

Campbell said it actually has two meanings, the first is each letter is the first letter of a strong, powerful woman in her life: herself, grandmother, mother and sewing mentor. The second is an acronym which stands for authentic, brave, love and empowered.

For National Eating Disorder Awareness Week Feb. 24 to March 1, Campbell plans to donate 20 percent of her proceeds to the National Eating Disorder Association, a resource which has helped Campbell in her own recovery.

“They really are a wonderful resource for people struggling with an eating disorder,” she said. “I’ve used their resources before…so I wanted to give back any way that I could.”

“I really want to promote a conversation to change the stigma around mental health,” she added.

For more information about ABLE or custom orders, visit her website or fill out an inquiry form.

You can also follow ABLE on Facebook and Instagram.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call 800-931-2237.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsiglianohttp://wydaily.com
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to julia@localvoicemedia.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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